Evening, All. I just back from the gym and rocked it. 30 minutes of treadmill and 25 minutes of weights...hmmm, can't wait to hop into the shower before bed. But before bed, let me note something, somewhat obliquely, because it's one of those things. Priests have lots of experience with those things conversations. It happens often enough: I have a conversation with someone, I want to be helpful, think of something helpful and then forget to mention it. Of course, the thing I want to mention to the person isn't so unique to their circumstances that it can't be applied to other situations, but ... I have to be remarkably circumspect about the originating conversation so all of my bases are covered. I write all this for new readers who might wonder what all the secrecy is about. Now you know.
(By the way, don't even ask about confession unless you are looking to go - for my non-Catholic friends, that is major off limits territory.)
Okay, so, I was having lunch recently with a couple of friends and as much as I would like to say I was being bright and optimistic, I wasn't. For several silver linings I was able to leap across the room and dredge up an appropriate cloud. We all wanted to see the situation in question improve, but no clear signs of improvement were in the offing. So, I do the best to lighten the mood with a bit I stole from Shaun of the Dead (see previous blog for notes on that) and we set off. As I was tooling around in the Batmobile, I thought of the perfect solution for the situation. We had to make a spiritual inquisition.
Now, before you say it, I know where lots of minds just went. Mel Brooks might be funny but here is off the mark somewhat. The Inquisition, as a process, was often times more humane and respected than the civil courts. Prisoners would often find ways to get their case referred to the Inquisition so that they might get better treatment. But that's a story for another time. The point I am raising here is an inquistion is a careful examination. In the situation my cohorts and I were lamenting what is needed is a careful examination. The situation needs examining; the players in the situation need examining; the observers (that's me and my buds) need examining. There are few things as hard on the spiritual life than charging off full of righteous anger without examining one's own motives for the advance. I recently have been working through some of this and it's not pleasant, rest assured. Granted, being so close to the situation at hand, it took me a bit of time to gain enough perspective to arrive at the solution. Oh, let's not leave out the Holy Spirit sharing a wisdom moment with me.
The inquistion should happen in prayer, through prayer, and with prayer. In prayer, I can truly pour out my heart, my sorrow to God, my fear, all of it. Don't believe me? Grab your Bible and thumb through the psalms. The person who wrote/uttered the statement, "My one companion is darkness," is, at the very least, not a happy bunny. Prayer, the awesome sharing in God's life, anticipating the joy of Heaven, is a place where the Truth reigns. Therefore, if there is a situation where Truth needs to work, then prayer is the place to go.
Further, I am not suggesting that you pray only if you think it is going to solve the problem, in the way you want it solved. All discernment, deciding what God is calling us to do in a given situation, must be rooted in Love and Reality. That's why it must rest on Truth - I don't always have the greatest perspective. Therefore, the situation I am praying about / for might need solving and my hardness of heart might need solving. The most profound piece is, truth is not a something to be mastered, but a someone to be known and loved. Either way you slice it, placing yourself before God and hashing stuff out with Him is the best key to faithful service, IMHO.
So, to the guys I had lunch For myself, I am going to dedicate my chaplet of St. Dominic to the project we had discussed. Our favorite torchbearing, "Dog of the Lord" might be able to fetch us what we need.