Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Encounters

This weekend, I have to say that I have been struck by my own selfishness....maybe it is the fact that I haven't been feeling well, but once again, I'm seeing that I am by no means near the place where St. Paul was when he said, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me..." I have noticed that I am often content to let others do things for me rather than to do the work myself, which means that I'm not a very good roommate.  That could be, at least in part, why my marriage fell apart, so I really need to work on this.

Sunday, as I was in mass, it struck me that all of the readings related to our responses to encounters with God...Isaiah sees God as he is conducting worship, Paul talks about his Damascus road experience, and Peter sees the first glimpses of Jesus' divinity in the miracle of being able to fill his boat AND his partners' boat after a night of catching nothing.

This is one of my favorite paintings by Dali--see the boat at the bottom of the picture?
The thing I find most interesting about the readings/encounters is that they all come away with a better understanding of their own sinfulness...Grace is also imparted, but only after they come face to face with the fact that they are sinful men.  Like the 12-steppers say, "admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery."  From the lives of saints that I have either read or watched, I've noticed that most of them have a point where they become aware of their own sinfulness.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm a saint, or even that I'm saint material any more than any of us are saint material...Actually I would argue that I'm pretty far from sainthood at this point!  Nor am I saying that I have had some pivotal experience like St. Paul, St. Peter, or the Prophet Isaiah.  But I'm seeing more and more how much I sin in the little things--in selfishness; in cussing because of anger and frustration; in playing my day away at work; in bad attitudes and in plain old laziness.  In this respect, I think that those of you who have children have one up on me--because I am only responsible for me, it is very easy to fall into a self-centered mindset. This is much harder to do when you have little ones that depend on you for things like food and other necessities.  Having pets helps some, but I suspect that this will be the greatest struggle I have as long as I live as a single person--remembering that it isn't all about me!

I think that is probably the greatest reason that I am attracted to religious life--when you live in community, you can't live only for yourself and be successful.  That is also why every order lives by a rule of some sort--it greases the space between members so that you can successfully forge a life together and grow closer to Christ in the process (and it knocks off the rough edges as well!).  And, it is also probably the reason why I will never make a good sister, just like I didn't make a good wife:  I am very headstrong on top of everything else!

But, that is also what Lent is about, isn't it?  The Church, in Her wisdom, has set aside a time every year for us to reflect on our attachment to this world, and in the process, remind us that we really need to be attached to Jesus and not anything else.  Like John the Baptist, we must say, "He must increase, and I must decrease."  I'm not there yet, but hopefully, a year from now, I can be a little bit closer, even if only by a centimeter.