Monday, October 23, 2006


Soldiers cast lots for Christ's garments.

Posted on the 2nd Day of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time - 2006 AD - (Year B)

According to Thomas a Kempis, all is vanity. I would agree with him and add that today all is vulgarity also. Thomas a Kempis was speaking of mans' efforts, his pride in his own accomplishments. Being pleased with oneself and ones own efforts. But the effort and the self don't belong to us, we belong to another, our Creator, to our brothers and sisters too. Sometimes God lets you see this vulgarity in all its ugliness. Today I just couldn't seem to get away from it. Wherever I turned, at work, at the shopping mall, on my way home, people cast lots, their backs turned to the Lamb of God, whom they had Crucified, and He suffers over and over as people fight over His garments, the material elements of his Creation. In agony on the Cross he is ignored, as men dash here and there, puffed up in their self importance, intent on dust, ashes, the clothes of the dying and the condemned. At work there is anger and stress, a disagreement over something, over a product so petty and ridiculous that it is beneath our scorn. On the TV, a woman dancing being sprayed with water, smiling crazily as if she is queen of the world, it's meant to be funny, ironic-but-serious. Today it just looks ugly.

Sometimes God removes the scales from our eyes and we see ourselves and the world we have made in the harshest light. At times like this in the past I have prayed for consolation. Lord I don't want to live in a world that looks like this! In his infinite compassion and mercy he gives me back the mist in the eyes, so that I continue to see as if 'through a glass darkly'. Today I realise that we cannot put off seeing the world for what it is, His Creation, beautiful and perfect in itself, spoiled and distorted by man. The human person acting without a conecpt or acknowedgement of God is a truly ugly thing. True vulgaritiy.

I came home feeling tired, unwell, as if I was somehow inhabiting a different life. I realised that it's time to dispense with the dark glass, the comfort zone. That Faith without Works is nothing. That unless I am prepared to follow the example others have set, I am no more than the vulgar self seeker, self obsessed, dead.

For something to do I tidy my daughters bedroom. She has lots of posters and pictures cut out of music magazines. The men are all tattooed, puffed up with themselves, adoring the attention of crowds, photographers, bleary eyed, trying to look menacing or quirky or funny. Trying to stretch themselves and the images they project in such a way as to gain some kind of credibility in their own eyes and the eyes of those who, for whatever reason, they might wish to impress. It is a vulgar and ugly sight and I feel sorry for my daughter and angry with myself that I cannot make her see this emptiness in the way that I see it. That she must come to learn this lesson for herself, have the veil torn and the scales taken from her eyes one day and feel exposed and vulnerable and shocked. Because in the end, sooner or later, Our Lord removes the darkness and exposes us all in the unbearable but inevitable light of the New Day dawning. In and of ourselves this light is unbearable, but only as He dwells in us and we in Him are we given the strength and Grace to inhabit this light as His Children and his chosen people.

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