Friday, October 30, 2009

Calm Sailing

A lot of dynamics come to bear on the Protestant soul that is drawn to Catholic Christianity. The dynamics involve both interior and exterior dimensions. This multi-dimensional journey can indeed be quite a crisis of faith, not only for the soul on the journey but also for the host of spectators viewing from up close and far away.

It is a journey filled with inexpressible joy, something that I personally liken to the parable told by Jesus about the Prodigal.[1] The implicit life-parallels contained in this parable are striking.

This joy has a deep personal and intimate fullness about it that is more easily experienced than it is described. But, at the same time, the journey is also replete with levels of sorrow and sadness, elements that have a way of creating their own set of defining characteristics.[2]

Rejection is definitely one of the characteristics that earmark the journey of a Protestant into the world of Catholic Christianity, something that is particularly heightened when the one being led on the journey happens to be a Protestant minister. It’s just simply part of the course. Although the pains of rejection have a way of sharpening awareness and firming resolve, it also necessitates practicing generous amounts of forgiveness and living more deeply centered in the love of Christ.[3]

Life’s journey is a course of discovery. I am discovering, along with these telltale marks of natural aging, that I am growing quite the more sentimental and sympathetic as I traverse these proverbial hills and hollows in pursuit of Christ and my own soul’s redemption.

I must admit however that there was a season on this journey when it was easy for me to meet rejection with equal amounts of its kind. Perhaps that was paraptoma on my part, fault that had a way of clouding over a lot of good memories of beautiful relationships and fruitful ministry that found themselves surrounded by camps of other well-intentioned but belligerent forces that caused me much personal hardship.

But perhaps it was also something necessary along that particular stretch of an extremely difficult climb, one that amounted to nothing less than a feat of spiritual, emotional, and even physical survival.

The dire straits inherent in that part of the journey have lost their keen edge. The major storms have abated. Those difficult straits are now more of a historical matter than they are present lived reality. The fabric of my life is yet being woven.

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, a natural sign filled with profundity. “Live in fear of judgment day and have a great horror of hell. Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire. Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die. Hour by hour keep careful watch over all you do, aware that God’s gaze is upon you, wherever you may be.”[4]

[1] Luke 15:11-32
[2] Romans 8:31b-39
[3] Matthew 5:3-12
[4] RB 4:44-49