The Rule, Article 4

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

From the Summa off Tommy Augustine-Art.2

Last month I mentioned Lynda and me moving after spending thirty-two years at the same address. The Moving Process still fills our days, taking our time, sapping our strength, and zapping our energy.

However, we can see the end as the first house has sold. Yes, sold. Buyers are a young couple, first house, two kids, moving into OUR place on top of OUR memories! Unless we remove the memories first. That’s what happens when one scrapes them off the walls, sucks them out of the carpets, and stuffs them in those special moving boxes, the ones for moving hearts. There is room, I am told, for moving all the good memories we cherish, all those we‘d like to re-visit on long evenings with special people, to the new house. The Moving Process is also the opportunity to move on without yesterday’s bad memories and bad dreams and all their poison we harvest to use so methodically to infect our present moments. We all do it. Listen in any group as someone (maybe you? maybe me?) rehearses to others the hurts nursed for decades.

We shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to stick such dreams and memories into black plastic sacks, tie the strings extra tight, and then (when they stop struggling) leave them at the curb on trash day. Unfortunately, sometimes old friends are left behind that way. What and who was precious move inadvertently from the core to the periphery of our lives-and everyone moves on, accidentally forgetting those once treasured.

Purgation of habits and attitudes works about the same. This is a lot like facing Purgatory now or Purgatory later. I, unfortunately, am finding there’s going to be plenty left over for the later if I keep at my current rate of spiritual development. I talk holiness. I tell Franciscan tales. I fantasize what knowing Padre Pio would have been like. Then I realize that when I found reason to skip confession this week from my parish priest--again, it makes any thoughts of much holiness on my part look premature. Without Mercy, they are truly stillborn.

After all is said and done, I confess I am really pretty comfortable spending the day sniping at others, foregoing repentance for self-righteousness. Surely somebody reading this understands. You know, it’s like when you awake to find what you held precious as a “gift of discernment” was really a “critical spirit”.

Again and again, I have to move back to Matthew 7:5. That’s the one about the log in my eye and the speck in yours. I can discern your behavior. I just can’t judge your being or personhood. God does that with precision. Colossians 3 fills in a lot here. Read it. Pray it as you move through the words.

It’s a powerful chapter if you’re at all like me, who when I’m climbing the ladder of spiritual progress, suddenly realize, the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. So again I move it and start over--again, postponing spiritual ecstasy at least one more day.