Approaching Lent--Deciding What We Want


I trouble you once again with insights from Sr. Ruth Burrows.

from Ascent to Love
Sr. Ruth Burrows

We have one dynamism of choice. That dynamism must be controlled, concentrated, otherwise it ceases to be dynamic and is like a worn out battery driving nothing. If we do not know what we really want, if we vacillate, allowing ourselves to be drawn hither and thither, we become enfeebled and our faculty of choice is weakened. We must decide what we really want and concentrate on that. 'The soul whose will is torn between trifles is like water which n ever rises because it is running through an outlet down below.'

Taking a lesson from Aquinas--God is uniate, simple. There is no part of Him that is not integrated with all other parts (in as much as He can be said to have "parts"). This is a very hard lesson. We know the truth of the shema Y'israel--"Know O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One." We know this. But the doctrine of the trinity sometimes clouds our understanding no matter how clearly we state it. Nevertheless, we know it to be true--God is triUNE--three person in union--simple. God is one. Uniate. Simple.

Why make such a big deal about it? Well, if God is uniate, simple, one, then nothing that is not God can be part of Him. That is, until our complete purification either here or in purgatory, we cannot join the God who is One. There can be no union of like with unlike. There is no mystical marriage and the fullness of the beatific vision is impossible. God is One and immovable, we are duple (at least) and duplicitous and must become simple and one to move toward the One.

This is what Sr. Ruth is emphasizing here. Our desire must be one, our heart must be one, our minds must be one, our intent must be one, our actions must be one. We cannot look now at God and now at some created good. Our choice must be singly and wholeheartedly one.

Now, there is not a little fear in this choice. What will happen to my family if my whole attention is devoted to God, to my career, to my life, to my leisure? What will happen to me?

What ideally SHOULD happen if one makes this choice is that "me" drops out of the picture and our joy and delight ever increases in serving God. It is in selflessness that we find the truest definition of self. If all of our being is aligned in wanting the One thing that matters, then we will not be troubled by the old car in the driveway or by wanting filet and eating chicken. We will not be disturbed by the same currents that scatter the rest of the school. We will begin to see eternity and what is present will pass away in RELATIVE importance. That does not mean our family passes out of our mind, but rather in the selflessness we practice we more completely serve our families and those around us. Union with the One does not mean the abandonment of life on Earth, but complete joy in that life and complete service to His ends in it.

The reality is very simple--we can continue to live a life in tension--in a kind of dynamic opposition of created good and Creator. Or we can "Choose Life" as we are commanded:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."

"Cleave to Him." the ancient language used to describe the relationship of marriage where "the two become one." In fact, throughout the Bible we are called to this surrender of marriage, this abandonment of self and immersion in the self as defined by God's vision of us. Cleaving to God is a vision of divine union that promises "length of days." Not length of life, but the "length", if you will, of eternity.

So today and all the days I chance to think about it and particularly through this season of Lent, I must make a constant choice to "Choose life" so that I might begin to live rather than to walk through life. We have but one chance to get it right, but within that chance so many opportunities. "This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in Him!"

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 3, 2005 7:56 AM.

God's Mysterious Ways was the previous entry in this blog.

On Prayer--Fluency Comes With Practice is the next entry in this blog.

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