Sunday, April 12, 2009

Begin Again

It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like to not believe.

Oh. There have been times in my earlier life when I lived as though I didn’t. Thinking back, those were the hardest and saddest times in my life. Particularly in my late teens through my mid twenties. The allurements of an existence that leads only to life in the pig pen.

There have been, too, shorter seasons over the course of this life of mine where the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity have been seriously neglected. Devotional discipline has slipped more than a bit. Flat. Bottomed out. Holes in my bucket.

Transparency is a dangerous thing. It is, however, the most honest thing, the only thing that makes for true health. To live an opaque life is to live a life of lies. Always hiding. Always covering up. Always disguising. Always putting forth some kind of false front. But who is willing to risk the inevitable rejection that comes with living transparently?

I admit that most folks that know me really don’t know me. They see only what they can see, only what they are allowed to see. I try to live a transparent life but most of the time, with most of the people that I associate with, the business of being social gets in the way of real, honest transparency. If they did really know me, I wonder if their appraisal of me would be the same.

Yeah. I’ve come an awful long way to get to where I am in my faith life, in my awareness of my self, in my awareness of God. It’s been quite a journey. One that involves a great deal of self-crucifixion, one that I’ve realized is a journey of always beginning. Any point of arrival is never the destination. It is only another calling, another invitation to self-crucifixion.

I must admit that I’ve never been able to completely escape the old self. The life that I lived as a young man embedded thoughts and haunts deep within my mind that simply refuse to leave me. I could easily consider myself the worst example of a believer.

Maybe I am.

Maybe we all are.

But I choose, instead, to think of myself as one of the most prime candidates for grace, a soul that recognizes his own need for the deep working action of continual conversion in his life. It is my own need that compels me to keep returning to the place where I am served the True Life that comes to me in the form of bread and wine.

Not that I merit such a privilege.

Not that any effort of mine earns me a right to such a Divine Gift.

But that He calls me.

He calls me every time to lay down all that is my self and start anew, begin again, be born again, in Him.