Friday, October 17, 2014

It's still in the book, and....

It's very early in the morning - half past One as a matter of fact and I cannot sleep.  I have a strange ailment in my leg that started a couple of days ago.  It was more like an irritation, but it seemed to disappear earlier yesterday.  I bowled last night and it did not bother me, but as soon as I went to bed, it started to give me fits.  I got up, opened my computer, read some e-mails and now, it feels better, Who knows what is going on?  Not I.

But I had a couple of interesting e-mails and I copied one from an Internet friend, Richard Rohr, that started me to think about what I had to say, yesterday.  I copied it.  Let's see if it works:


My Mystery Opens 
Me to God’s Mystery

Friday, October 17, 2014

Only love can know love, only mercy can know mercy, only the endless mystery I am to myself is ready for God’s Infinite Mystery. When I can stand in mystery (not knowing and not needing to know and being dazzled by such freedom), when I don’t need to split, to hate, to dismiss, to compartmentalize what I cannot explain or understand, when I can radically accept that “I am what I am what I am,” then I am beginning to stand in divine freedom (Galatians 5:1). We do not know how to stand there on our own. Someone Else needs to sustain us in such a deep and spacious place. This is what the saints mean by our emptiness, our poverty and our nothingness. They are not being negative or self-effacing, but just utterly honest about their inner experience. God alone can sustain me in knowing and accepting that I am not a saint, not at all perfect, not very loving at all—and in that very recognition I can fall into the perfect love of God. Remember Jesus’ first beatitude: “How happy are the poor in spirit, theirs isthe kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3). How amazing is that? I think this might just be the description of salvation and perfect freedom. They are the same, you know.
I used to pray at the tomb of Fr. Karl Rahner (1904-1984) when I was studying one summer in Innsbruck, Austria. He is the German Jesuit who so influenced the Second Vatican Council. Rahner taught me this (in his long German sentences, even worse when translated into English): The infinite mystery that you are to yourself is alone able to accept and love the Infinite Mystery that God will always be. It is finally two mysteries of Life humbly bowing and deferring to one another. He taught me how to be patient and merciful toward both of these infinite mysteries. Thank you, Karl!"
His "not knowing and not needing to know" intrigues me.  There are lots of "stuff" I know nothing about and - to me, it's a blessing.  When people started getting up-tight about Islam and the infamous, Sharia Law, I opened up the books I have on Islam and came away wondering, why are others so concerned about people they really do not know?  Now, they are worried about ISIS.  We have the power to bomb them off the face of the earth and eventually, we may have to use that power.  But why are so many of our friends and neighbors all in a "tizzy" about these people they don't know.
I was seventeen years of age, a new recruit in what was then, the U.S. Army Air Corps and I was on a troopship headed for Japan when I began to recall all of the terrible things I had heard about the Japanese and now, I was going to live as their neighbor.  I will always be indebted to the Army Colonel who told us about our "mission" and how we were to treat the locals, as he made reference to our former enemies, emphasis on the word, former.  I listened carefully and it would be over four years before I would be heading home.  It had been the most wonderful experience I would ever have and that became more apparent when I returned to what had been my home.  No one seemed to care that part of that duty involved a real war with the North Koreans.  So?  So what?  It did not seem to matter to my former family and friends that I had been in harm's way.  I was home, they thought - or I imagined that is what they thought.  They didn't say.
Times have changed, obviously.   Today, we seem to fear the North Koreans.  And the Muslims.  And far too often, I could fear that others fear that their futures are being corrupted by government, which is, in my opinion, the most effective government known to mankind.
Before I left for the Air Force, I vividly recall our President addressing the nation regarding World War II and concluding his speech with these words, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."  He was right.
My Bible has taught me that, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear, because fear involves punishment and one who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because He first loved us."   (And, to continue the quote from I John 4:18-21)  ..."the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."
We seem to be losing our way.  Another e-mail received earlier this morning went to great lengths to describe the impasse some of the churches in Houston, TX, are having with their local governing authorities.  We have already been witness to the tragedy that has become, Ferguson, MO.
We want to fear such instances even though we have been instructed to love those in authority - after all, they are our brothers and sisters.
When will we begin to learn?

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