Monday, January 1, 2007

Archive: I'm No St. Francis

From Joe's Observatory. Original post date 2.17.05

It's very difficult to believe that God is always attentive. I am often tempted by the image and theology of deism - that God winds everything up and departs for his vacation home somewhere to the west of Ursa Major. At the same time, the sheer tendency of humanity to be reckless, vulgar, narcissistic and violent demands that somehow God is holding things in check. It is very easy to imagine God's absence and very difficult to describe His presence. But it is impossible to think the world is utterly uncared for.

The hidden-ness of God is one of the great troubles that we have, but the greatest necessity of the kind of faith He seeks. I believe it is one of the reasons for the Church. We come together to talk about God, not only as described in the Bible, but as the One working in lives. We, through the Church, can see the gentle correctives and inexplicable mercies that suggest our course is being guided by a benevolent and purposeful hand.

Why can some saints see the hand so clearly while most of us struggle to catch a glimpse? I'm not sure exactly. I wonder what drove St. Francis or even Martin Luther. In my own case, I fear God. I fear that He will demand more of me; however, I cannot stand less of Him. We are helpless lovers, bound to one another: He in His Incarnation and Crucifixion; me in my longing and restlessness. It is obvious that I am the one who prefers flirtation and passing immature letters, while He is dedicated to our consummation. And though I beg for Him to be more assertive and present, I wonder if He knows that I'm always on the verge of fleeing His kindness.

Alas, so it goes.

You would think God would have better taste in sinners. I'm very fortunate that He does not.

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