Monday, November 6, 2006

Monday: A few ruminations on life and how (we'd like) to live it

There are several songs about Monday, all of which are apropos of, what is actually, the second day of the week. Sunday, Dies Domini, is the first day of the week. The songs that immediatley come to my mind begin with Monday, Monday by The Mamas and The Papas; Blue Monday, by one of my all-time favorite groups, New Order; The Bangles' Manic Monday. Of course, who can leave out the The Boom Town Rats' classic I Don't Like Mondays?

Spiritual writer, Thomas Moore, in his introduction to a recent edition of Pater Tom's Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, writes: "I have come to think that the care of the soul requires a high degree of resistance to the culture around us, simply because that culture is dedicated to values that have no concern for the soul. To preserve our precious hearts, we may have to live economically against the grain, perhaps so as not to be forced into soul-maiming work just to place bread on the table or put our children through college."

I think Moore in this passage and the youthful anthems are trying to say much the same thing. These are things worth saying because the passage and these songs certainly express thoughts and feelings we have all had. We live in age, observes Moore, in which information "has taken place of wisdom and ruined education, and data collection has superceded reflection". This brings us to a bit of wisdom from Pater Tom himself: "How absolutely central is the truth that we are first of all part of nature". Mindful of this central truth, we offer ourselves to God, seeking to present our "bodies," in the words of St. Paul (Rom 12,1b-2) "as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God". Trying not to be "conformed to this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewing of [our] minds, so that [we] may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect," seeking to make our work holy, earning our bread by the sweat of our brows. All the while we must safeguard our souls from technological/industrial accidents that maim us, dull us, and seek to get us to compromise the values of God's Kingdom only to replace them with worldly values that have no concern for the soul. On the positive side, we must continue to seek a more authentic, genuinely human way to live in the very circumstances in which we find ourselves. Or, in the words of another song, by R.E.M., Life and How To Live It. For this, prayer, a deep connection with God, is absolutely necessary.

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