[ now playing? ] Match Point OST – Various Artists | Telecoteco: um sambinha cheio de bossa… – Paula Morelenbaum
The weather the past week has been ridiculous. Mainly raining. Apart from a couple of days where it’s been humid like heck in the day followed by… oh yeah, that’s right, rain (again) at night.
Today has been stupidly wet. Some strong winds and heavy rain have made it a complete washout.
Nice to see Steph, Sime, Jacky and Phillip again today. =)
But today was the first week of the “two-church” approach to faith. EMP in the morning followed by 5pm Mass @ St. John’s. I would have stayed back for Choral Evensong at 6pm but alas, I had to get something to eat before my last meeting as secretary for the Worship & Music Committee. I am getting used to this split nature for church now. EMP is there primarily for the social factor (with faith formation too) but St. John’s is primarily for faith formation and music with the liturgy and the music program there each week. Will have to get used to choral evensongs at night instead of choral Eucharists in the morning now.
I’m somewhat relegating my hopes of one day celebrating a Eucharist as a priest to being down the drain for the moment. In vestments no less. *shrugs shoulders* Oh well. Dear God, it was fun while it lasted. Maybe in God’s time it will come back. Maybe it won’t. Studying theology hasn’t gone out of the picture though. And neither has my lay monastic sense of faith formation and spirituality that is probably a sharp contrast to the rest of my life. But I live with these inherent contradictions within myself. Deo gratias.
This past week I have been getting rather sick of the constant questioning from rellies about my lack of a marital status. Sure, there are some young women that I do like (some may even pick up on this) but I can’t foresee myself in a relationship with them. Whether it’s real concerns that I have or me just killing myself by a thousand cuts before the battle has even begun, I have no idea. Maybe this is my calling in life, as a single man. And while I have pity on myself, I don’t expect anyone else to have pity on me. I expect laughter at me and incessant questioning from relatives. If this is what it comes down to, all I pray is for grace. Lots of it.
Bryan’s post on Oct 7 has got me thinking. Especially with the church issues I’ve had over the last few months. He quotes from Merton in The Monastic Journey initially:
The real secret of monastic stability is, then, the total acceptance of God’s plan by which the monk realizes himself to be immersed into the mystery of Christ through this particular family and no other. It is the definitive acceptance of his communion, in time and eternity, with these particular brothers chosen for him by God to share his sorrows and his joys, his difficulties and his achievements, his problems and their solutions. It means the glad realization of the fact that all who are thus called together will work out their salvation in common, will help one another to find God more easily, and indeed that we have been destined from all eternity to bring one another closer to Him by our love, our patience, our forbearance and our efforts at mutual understanding.
He has some pointed observations next.
This vow of stability isn’t so much about my physical location but has more to do with where I am spiritually. Am I dwelling in God? Am I choosing to surrender my will for His will?
I love the last quote too . . . read it over a few times. Do you have a “particular family” of people that you are working out your salvation with? If so, how does that look? What kinds of things must we be willing to surrender to live in this kind of communion?
And they are pointed. They cut to the very core of the discontent and spiritual malaise that has afflicted me intensely over the last few months and more generally over the last two to three years. I haven’t really been able to find a “particular family” (as Merton puts it) where I can be immersed into the mystery of Christ. Or maybe I have but haven’t realized it and it has been this last few year’s sojourn in the spiritual wilderness/desert (so to speak) that maybe God is slowly removing the scales from my eyes.
Is my fervent Anglo-Catholicism something that I can surrender to live in communion? Or is it an integral part of what makes me, well, “me“? Have all these years in an evangelical parish actually dulled the innate Anglo-Catholicism in me to the point where my time spent in the evangelical parish was actually a front, a facade with elements of the underlying truth visible in parts? And has it been this 5-6 months away from the evangelical parish that has restored the sanity and balance in my faith that was partially a facade before? Quite possibly.
Dwelling in God is not as easy as it sounds. At the risk of cutting it very finely on the line between faith and works, it does take effort to dwell in God. My own effort. If it’s effort through my own strength, then it is for naught. But, if it is my own effort through Christ’s strength, by gosh do I have a shot at dwelling in God then.
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