Scary Matters of the Spirit


Free will can be a bummer.

Yep. Why doesn't God just wrap us up in bubblewrap and carry us home to be with Him. But the reality is that Love lets one make mistakes. I don't know why it does this--perhaps to prove our own reciprocal love when one returns home with tail tucked between legs; perhaps because that is the only way to learn to love.

Love is agony and sin is so easy because it helps to ease the pain of Love. Love takes endurance and sin takes a short-cut to what one thinks one wants. Thomas Aquinas (I paraphrase here) quite rightly says that the even the sinner is acting on a perceived good. Desire, which points the direction home, often leads us through brambles, briars, swampy tangles, and deserts of self. What looks like a short-cut is a convoluted, involved, messy trail of heartache, sorrow, and self-involvement. All, often, in the name of love. Contra Nietzsche, Christianity is not for the weak following the weak, because love, particularly love in the world he helped to forge, can be horrendously difficult.

But the name of love, the real name, the name whispered through centuries and shouted in Heaven--the real name of love is Jesus. And any action of desire that leads in any other direction is, at best, a fault, and often a sin. Many are so tangled in their sins that they cannot see the way home. This was brought to mind the other day when I read at TSO's about a bunch of Democrat politicians who were castigating the Pope because he dare say that they had excommunicated themselves. They have chosen their way and cannot see.

But they are merely a mirror for me and in that reflection I can see my own waywardness, the standards I insist upon, and if me, then I suspect a great many sinners who do not take the time to look inside and see what has gone wrong.

This is the reason Jesus was always so compassionate toward sinners--"They are like sheep without a shepherd," "Then know not what they do." How true is that of people today? How true is that of me? Do I really see what it is I choose when I make a choice. Do I pause even for a moment in my headlong plunge to destruction?

Oh, how I would pray for the bubble-wrap of God that would preserve me and take me home exactly as God would like me to be. That bubble-wrap, that protection against evil, is the Sacrifice of His Son and it is the outpouring of Love of Father and son that dwells within. Oh, but the glass around that lantern, around that inner fire is begrimed and filthy, darkened by all the ways I have chosen less than the best. But my longing, periodically restored, is that the glass be so cleaned that while it is not the light, it does not interfere with the light's transmission and even participates in the light, becoming light as it allows God's brilliant inner stream to light it up completely.

This is not a fairy tale, but a covenant made in blood. It is not an abstract ideal, but the pervasive and fundamental reality of our faith. God will restore me if only I will turn to Him and say, "Please help." Or, in the words of Brother Lawrence, "See what happens to me if I stray but a little way. Be with me, O Lord."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 22, 2007 8:00 AM.

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Wandering in the Wilderness of Sin is the next entry in this blog.

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