Saturday, September 20, 2008

As Though Nothing Else Mattered

“The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness. My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

R/. I will walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living.[1]

Dawn is undoubtedly my favorite time of day. It brings with it a gentle sense of personal hope, reminders that encourage me to trust, questions that keep me wondering. A lot of mornings I’m sitting here in my chair watching the daybreak and sunrise through an East facing window in my little study. There is a sameness about every dawn. Yet, every dawn is different. God’s mercies are renewed, not because of anything I have done, but because of his faithfulness.

It seems rather appropriate that our Epistle reading today regards the resurrection.[2] Is this something that we really take seriously, seriously enough to live as though nothing else mattered? Thomas `a Kempis tells us, “It is vanity to seek material wealth that cannot last and to place your trust in it. It is also vanity to seek recognition and status. It is vanity to chase after what the world says you should want and to long for things you should not have, things that you will pay a high price for later on if you get them. It is vanity to wish for a long life and to care little about a good life. It is vanity to focus only on your present life and not to look ahead to your future life.”[3]

Words like these are not easily accepted by residents of the 21st Century, regardless of their denominational stripe. No surprise. The words come to us from the 15th Century, long before our age of crippled and corrupted modernisms, an age that conditions us to interpret everything in a way that leaves us feeling justified in our selfish endeavors. I’m ok. Your ok. As long as we don’t do anything to upset the status quo and those who set its accepted boundaries. What then if we do? Our world grows smaller. We’re labeled as being out of step with the times, radicals, crazies, irresponsible fanatics. Are these labels bad and undesirable? I think not.

Oh, to be such good soil that the sown seed can grow and produce fruit in my life![4] No hard, trampled path where the seed only feeds the passing starlings and crows. No rocky ground devoid of life giving moisture. No thorn infested ground that chokes the life out of the better planting. Only good soil, productive soil, where the sown seed can thrive and produce its desirable intended fruit.

“Often remember that saying: ‘The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.’” Make every effort, then, to shift your affections from the things that you can see to the things you cannot see, for people who live in the world on its own terms instead of on God’s terms stain their conscience and lose God’s grace.”[5]

[1] Responsorial, Saturday, 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II
[2] 1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
[3] Thomas `a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Ch. 1, Para. 4
[4] Luke 8:4-15
[5] The Imitation of Christ, Ch. 1, Para. 5