Saturday, July 30, 2016

Take my mind off

I get distracted too, by things small enough for me to handle: small sadnesses and things none of us can change, like Nats losses, the cold spring’s destruction of the cherry and plum crops, and this month’s record heat.  Like you, my day is filled with practicalities and procedures: administrative details, Archdiocesan requirements, recreational opportunities.  It’s a life. 
Pelting us daily is a litany of things that we are told we should be concerned about, the work of politicians, activists, and advocates.  Narratives are spun for us to accept, to shape our understanding of the world and bring our behavior into line with someone else’s expectations.  Our critical filter can only accomplish so much to maintain the clear vision and moral freedom that we all like to assume we have.
Beneath it all is a drumbeat of our own helplessness, our dependence upon somebody else, some person who stands ready, some bright individual or brilliant group who can fix this for us, and make it right.  They tell you that this death, this loss, this injustice could have been prevented, and they can make it right. 
Ignore the drumbeat.
Human selfishness and false religion are at work in the world devouring souls and destroying lives.  Devastation in the dormitories and death on the promenade are the fruit of a repeated rejection of the one and only offer that can give any assurance or joy in this life.  Death wants you and wants me, and claims millions of hands for helpers.
There is evidence enough both at home and abroad to point our hearts and minds in the only direction that offers us relief.  There is one response that gives refuge, one action that will bear fruit, one effort that effects change.  This response, this action, is within in reach of me and of you, and requires neither activism nor advocacy, no policy change nor procedural perseverance.
Rend your hearts, not your garments.  Draw near to Christ and lay hold of Him as Lord.  Turn away from the noise and news that fills your ears and your head with manipulation and disinformation, and turn to Him who has the words of everlasting life.  Pour out your tears not for petty losses or personal griefs, but for your own sins.  
Throw away your yard signs and lapel pins and go to confession, go to communion, and go to the Lord Jesus.  Stop arguing, stop advocating, and pray:  listen for the still small voice that is the hallmark of God With Us.  Do not let anger turn you from the work of love; do not let what is wrong with the world deter you from lamenting what is wrong with you.
God has given us great power in giving us His Son.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He has changed death into the path to life.  He has given us the ability to change the biggest obstacle to joy and freedom: our own hearts. 
Come!  Join me!  Let us rush to Him for the freedom and life that we crave!
Then I get distracted.

Monsignor Smith

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