Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grille Eyes

You are allowed to laugh.  Or groan.  Or hastily cover this picture of A Girl Wearing Spectacles of Fashionable Red Plaid so you don't have to look at it.  Hey, I never claimed to be good at Photoshop...

But the truth is:  I could use a pair of glasses just like these.  Portable grillwork, through which I'd be reminded to look at everything through the Will of God.  I could then see newspapers, people, television, every sort of situation with God's Will right smack in front of me.

Wouldn't it be handy?  If we had such aids, we would not only see things as God intended, we'd also know how He wanted us to respond. 

While holiness does not come automatically to one living in the physical enclosure, at least a cloistered nun doesn't forget she's in a cloister.  She wakes up every morning surrounded by reminders of where she is.  If her monastery has grillwork in the parlor, every visitor is encountered through it. 

We, however, might say we want to have "cloistered hearts" - and then look at what happens!  We're still in the same environments.  We work in the same offices, cook the same meals, scrub the same sinks.  We see the same people and find no grillwork in front of their faces, so we often forget to relate to them through the will of God.

Life lived for God, in the protection of Scripture and Church teaching, is life lived against the grain.  It can be tough to find the view through the grille, not to mention the fact that such a viewpoint can be, well - about as fashionable as a pair of football shaped plaid specs.

As for me, I intend (by the grace of God) to keep finding ways to remind myself of the grille-view.  How do I do this?  I read Scripture, not just as an academic exercise, but as a manual of how to live. If I wonder about what the Church teaches on a particular matter, I look it up in the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church.

And here comes the hard part.  If I find that I don't agree with something the Church teaches, I am called to change.  I match what I do to what the Church asks of me:  it doesn't work the other way around.

Is it easy to bend my will to Scripture and Church teaching?  No.

Is it popular and hip and "today?"  No.

It can be tough to live "through the grille" when people around have other opinions.  But if I don't try to live according to Scripture and Church teaching, then "the cloistered heart" is nothing more for me than just a nice phrase. 

As I attempt to live as God asks, I could be seen as uncool.  If people knew to do so, some might even taunt me with names like "grille eyes."

But I have been given the right prescription, and I'm grateful to finally be able to see.

(Georges Jakobides painting 1882, in US public domain; glasses digitally altered)