Thursday, September 5, 2013

An Enclosure Door for Me

Sometimes I feel world-weary.  Tired of putting up, not just with my own failings, but with the shameless acceptance of sin that's dancing proudly all around.  I don't have to look far to find it.  In fact, I don't have to "find" it at all.  It leers from newcasts and taunts from TV screens and celebrates its own rebellion, unashamed.

It seems that evil is marching right out of the shadows, where once it lay hidden.  It boldly kills, lies, cheats, distorts, perverts, abuses, and mocks the holiness of God. 

And, having written that last paragraph, I know why I'm feeling weary.  Evil is mocking God.

It's trying to convince us that God isn't there, He doesn't care, and we can do whatever we want with our bodies and babies and friends and enemies and world.  The world is ours, evil tells us; we are thoroughly in control.

If enough people do/say/believe/practice/ignore a behavior (we're "told"), it must be fine.  Again and again, the love and truth and mercy of God are shunned and rejected.  Can you imagine loving someone so much that you would take a beating for them?  Be nailed to a Cross and die for them?  And then can you imagine having your loved one laugh in your face, spit on you, mock you, say they hate you?  It happens to Jesus every day. 

Wouldn't it be nice, I sometimes think, to walk through an enclosure door and leave the wicked world behind. To go where people live for the Lord Who died for them; where they accept His love and forgiveness, where they recognize sin for what it is, where they return love for Love.

I know it's not that simple; of course it's not.  But it does represent an ideal.  And for those of us not called to such a life, it can (I think) have something to say.

I cannot walk away from the world, nor should I.  I can't flee from the mockery and rebellion.  To walk away from the world would be walking away from my vocation, for "in the world" is where my call lies.  While I can limit a great deal of the garbage that tries to find an entrance into my mind, I can't eliminate all of it.  And that is why I appreciate the analogy of the cloistered heart, and the visual imagery of the grille, and the door through which I am invited to walk.

The doorway for a cloistered heart is the door of total surrender to God. 

As I've written before, sometimes I imagine myself standing before a physical door.  I consider.  I vacillate.   I want a print-out of all that will be asked of me before I give God and His will an unqualified “yes.”  I’m second-guessing, halting, looking back.  Then I stick one foot forward… 

“Jesus, I give You my whole heart and my whole will.  They once rebelled against You, but now I dedicate them completely to you…Receive me, and make me faithful until death.”  (St. Alphonsus Liguori).   

Yes, I am world-weary.  But there's a cloister I can live in; there is grillwork I can look through.  

There is an enclosure door for me.  

William Paxton painting, public domain