Saturday, August 11, 2007

Old Thoughts, New Medium

Gripped in odd moments of human helplessness, it is not unusual for man to awkwardly start a conversation with his God. Sometimes in self-effacing candor he may look at his own tattered self as still like unto the image of his God though recklessly warped it may have been defaced. Indeed, all creatures are likened unto God from whence all emanated. And yet, God is not like us, no more than a sketch of any man is like that man. We stumble badly when we use our finite minds and language to describe the grandeur and perfection of that divinity to which we crave for ultimate unity.

We discern that the least perfection we find in our species speaks volumes of the ultimate perfection of that uncontainable model that interrupted his timelessness to transport us to finite time and space. Still, we admit that however generous and helpingful our pious platitudes may seem, they are simply dim, inadequate, puny, obscure and faint shadows of revelation of the awesome substance of that infinity. He who has no name is one who cannot be contained either in words of language or deep mystical musings.

Yes, we acknowledge God is good, and we like to think that somehow in this all too upside down world we now find ourselves in, that good would somehow manifest itself and bring some needed relief to a much-burdened humanity. We pine for the abundant generosities bestowed in times past. Godly love that showered us when least expected. His benign mercies easing the many vicissitudes that seemed formidable. So now we are desperate for a renewed round of tangible manifestations of his goodness.

And that is when we miss the mark completely. For that infinite goodness that we hanker for is not one prone to bring and give, but rather to demand and take. His goodness is expressed not so much as what it brings to us, but rather that it aims to take our hearts away from us. This captivating lover entices to wrench our hearts away from us. It aims to light up our timid hearts so that like smoldering torches it can scale the heights of its own goodness. Thus inflamed, no journey will be long enough, no peril too dangerous, and no obstacle too formidable. Giving birth to the needed courage, daring, wisdom, and strength to overhaul our adversities.

Look inward. The solutions are right there, not in projective victimhood. Nor in utter surrender to perceived inevitabilities of overwhelming human or institutional failings. Escapist exercises in endless rhetorical debates and mental gymnastics will not be sufficient, either.

Don’t look around, rather look inward. We grant that our very nature willingly inclines toward talking and discoursing with one another, but remember that seldom do we return to our own solitude without grave prejudice to our own conscience.

The more I converse with man, the less I find myself a man when I return. No truer words said.

Religiosity From The Past (Part Two)

Following up on the initial entry which was about my maternal grandmother, continuing to rummage through the remaining stowed items in the new house has unraveled yet another interesting remnant from the past. This time an old devotional/prayer book owned by my late mother, again written in the language of her milieu, Spanish, and made in Germany. I had asked the wife how this new find got into our possession, but immediately recalled that my mother had lived with us here in the US for about 10 years prior to spending her remaining years in the old homeland. Then it dawned on me that among the few things that she brought from the old country were the prayer books, rosary, and novenas that were her constant and ever dependable companions.

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