August 19, 2018
No sooner have we decided to participate in the liturgy than we are invited to confess our unworthiness to do so! As odd as this may seem, it is a conscious recognition on the part of each and all that someone – God – has acted with infinite graciousness in drawing near. Nothing we have done and nothing we could ever do could possibly merit or deserve that grace – that love. Only that grace makes it possible to be in this gathering where he is. Just as truly, but not so vastly, it is the loving decisions of each and that make our gathering possible. Apart from that human graciousness, each of us would be alone at Mass. We can think that we aren’t important to the liturgical gathering or that we will not be missed or that the absence of others does not affect our gathering. None of those thoughts is true.
How do we transfer this ‘confessional’ attitude into our daily lives?
Well, start be thinking of all the people – name them in your mind – who drive you crazy just by being above ground. They are the real life equivalents of the lady with too much perfume, the person who will not move in from the end of the pew, the gossip at the back of the church, the tardy arriver, the early departer, etc. If any one of them is not part of your life, your life changes. “For the better”, you say. May be so. But maybe they are in your life so that you may become better! Maybe the thing that makes them feel like a burden is actually what God is doing to lift you up. To do that lifting, he has to get you to rest more ‘lightly’ on your laurels– to insist less on the weightiness of your individual concerns. Only thus, is it possible to take seriously the concerns that others bring to you or occasion for you.
This could be just another way of affirming that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I’. But it actually goes much deeper than that. The proper expression is much more like here by the grace of God becomes the one who makes me a saint. Nor, obviously, is this such a simple and condescending ‘finding Jesus in my neighbor’ kind of thing. It is much more like a decision to be Jesus for that person and to allow the world to see Jesus in the relationship that is transformed by such a simple expedient as getting out of my own way.
Now, imagine practicing this attitude – or, at least, -- looking for someone who seems to be open to it, in the
world of business or politics or school life or a cocktail party! Just asserting that the value of some other person or group of persons is not less than the value of me or my cohort! There would be no boasting, no bullying, no porn, no eye-rolling, no mockery; certainly no anger, no revenge!
Really and truly, though ponderously, yours,