Friday, February 17, 2006

Close to You

I cannot believe they make Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp cereal. If I didn't have a reason to believe in God before...

Boyfriend mentioned to me the other day that in the past six months or so, my blog has become less and less about my philosophies on life and more and more about me personally. Although there have been several posts in which I rant about this, that, and the other thing, this is generally true. I grew tired of tackling grandiose questions on subjects like religion. Part of me is fascinated by it and lives for the search, while the rest of me (the part that has taken over recently) is simply tired of looking, especially when there's a good chance that I will never find what I'm looking for.

I passed a church the other day. Even in my heretical state, I simply love churches. I looked at it and thought, "It's so beautiful. Too bad it's empty." I didn't mean empty of people, I meant empty as in not holding anything I can use. I feel like churches are full of ideas, nothing more. (Sure, a sense of community and service too, but I mean in the sense of trying to relate to God.) Now, I am a huge fan of ideas; if I wasn't, I wouldn't read as much as I do. But I think that where Christianity failed me - aside from offending me with its scriptures and tenets - is in the whole relationship to God aspect. Yes, you're supposed to make all these sacrifices for your faith, but in turn, you are supposed to get closer to God. Become more fulfilled. Have a purpose in life.

I see now that I was seeking a transcendental experience. I read Thoreau and Emerson and Whitman and thought, If this exists, I want this! But they weren't even talking about my faith, so I don't know why I expected the kind of connection they wrote so passionately about.

Now, you can argue that if I wasn't/am not close to God, that the fault lies with me and not the religion. I suppose that's a fair point for an observer to make, but it's not a valid point if only for the fact that I tried. I really did. For years and years. And if I failed, it was not for lack of trying. Perhaps it was for lack of perfection and divinity. Why should it be our fault that it is so hard to reach God when our humanity forbids the very idea of it?



See, that's how religion validates itself. It keeps ya goin' in so many circles so you can't find yer own ass with two hands an' a flashlight. While yer tryin' to get yer bearings, you don't have enough time to worry about all th' problems within said religion to bother to look at it enough an' question their "faith up front" methods.

fp said...

"The Eucharist responds precisely to these questions. The first thing it tells us is that God gives himself to us so that we, in turn, can give ourselves. The initiative in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes from God. In the beginning, it was he himself who lowered himself."

"Christ is not a gift that we men present to an irritated God; on the contrary, the fact that he is here, lives, suffers and loves, is already the work of the love of God," the cardinal writes. "It is the merciful love of God, who stoops down to us; the Lord who makes himself a servant for us.

"Although we are the ones who caused the conflict, and although God was not the culprit, but us, it is he who comes to meet us and who, in Christ, begs for reconciliation."

"The more we walk with him the more conscious we are that the God who seems to torment us is the one who really loves us and is the one to whom we can abandon ourselves without resistance or fear," Cardinal Ratzinger states.

God is Love. It doesn't getter better than that.

Keep in touch with Him, trust Him, love Him. God loves you all.

fp said...

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta,
pray for us.

"The Call within a Call. On September 10, 1946, the day celebrated by the Missionaries of Charity as “Inspiration Day,” Mother Teresa was traveling by train from Calcutta to a retreat house in Darjeeling. During this trip, the realization came to her that Jesus was calling her to serve him radically in the poorest of the poor. Only in private letters to her spiritual director, Fr. Celeste Van Exem, S.J., and (under Fr. Van Exem’s cautious instruction) to Archbishop Ferdinand Périer, S.J., did she reveal that this call was more than just an inner prompting. Jesus appeared and spoke to her, in a series of interior locutions and visions. “Wouldst thou not help?” Jesus asked her. “How can I?” Mother Teresa responded, expressing her fear of incurring ridicule, loneliness, deprivation, and failure should she leave her happy life as a Loreto nun, exchange her habit for a rough sari, and take up the uncertain life Jesus was demanding of her. Repeatedly he asked her, “Wilt thou refuse? You have become my spouse for my love. You have come to India for me. The thirst you had for souls brought you so far. Are you afraid now to take one more step for your spouse, for me, for souls?” And again: “I want Indian nuns, Missionaries of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying, and the little children. . . .” The chief motivation for the Missionaries of Charity, as she would often say, was not to do social work, but to adore Christ in the littlest and weakest of his children, and to bring Christ the souls for which he thirsts."

"The Dark Night. Throughout 1946 and 1947, Mother Teresa experienced a profound union with Christ. But soon after she left the convent and began her work among the destitute and dying on the street, the visions and locutions ceased, and she experienced a spiritual darkness that would remain with her until her death. It is hard to know what is more to be marveled at: that this twentieth-century commander of a worldwide apostolate and army of charity should have been a visionary contemplative at heart; or that she should have persisted in radiating invincible faith and love while suffering inwardly from the loss of spiritual consolation. In letters written during the 1950s and 1960s to Fr. Van Exem, Archbishop Périer, and to later spiritual directors, Fr. L. T. Picachy, S.J., and Fr. J. Neuner, S.J., she disclosed feelings of doubt, loneliness, and abandonment. God seemed absent, heaven empty, and bitterest of all, her own suffering seemed to count for nothing, “. . . just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.” "

"The dark night of Mother Teresa presents us with an even greater interpretive challenge than her visions and locutions. It means that the missionary foundress who called herself “God’s pencil” was not the God-intoxicated saint many of us had assumed her to be. We may prefer to think that she spent her days in a state of ecstatic mystical union with God, because that would get us ordinary worldlings off the hook. How else could this unremarkable woman, no different from the rest of us, bear to throw her lot in with the poorest of the poor, sharing their meager diet and rough clothing, wiping leprous sores and enduring the agonies of the dying, for so many years without respite, unless she were somehow lifted above it all, shielded by spiritual endorphins? Yet we have her own testimony that what made her self-negating work possible was not a subjective experience of ecstasy but an objective relationship to God shorn of the sensible awareness of God’s presence."

"This was exactly the way Mother Teresa learned to deal with her trial of faith: by converting her feeling of abandonment by God into an act of abandonment to God. It would be her Gethsemane, she came to believe, and her participation in the thirst Jesus suffered on the Cross. And it gave her access to the deepest poverty of the modern world: the poverty of meaninglessness and loneliness. To endure this trial of faith would be to bear witness to the fidelity for which the world is starving. “Keep smiling,” Mother Teresa used to tell her community and guests, and somehow, coming from her, it doesn’t seem trite. For when she kept smiling during her night of faith, it was not a cover-up but a manifestation of her loving resolve to be “an apostle of joy.”
If you would like to receive a relic of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you can contact the Postulation Office by email at or write to:
c/o 2498 Roll Dr. PMB 733
San Diego, CA 92154

Anonymous said...

i'm happy for you! have i said that enough? prolong undergrad as long as you can =)

(do you know who this is now?)

wolf sux

dave said...

if one has read the works of mother teresa. all that she and her sisters have done for the porest of the poor, and the great love she had for jesus,and still don't beleive in jesus christ, i can only say that my heart is heavy for them.