Saturday, March 26, 2011

Overcoming our "petty expectations"

Today I am grateful that I have little to say, nothing burning, nothing urgent. It is truly a grace for me. I was very struck this morning by a short review of Andre Dubus' film, which I now intend to watch, We Don't Live Here Anymore by my friend Sharon. It made me think about love and worthiness. Moreover, it made me grateful that I do not have to be worthy to be loved. This is certainly true of God, but it remains abstract if we have not experienced it for ourselves. So, I am even more grateful for those who love me despite my often manifest unworthiness. My wife shows me this all the time, through my good days and bad days.


Sharon's review of Dubus' film put me in mind of the book of the prophet Hosea, which demonstrates this very dramatically: "When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord'. So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son." (Hosea 1:2-3) Then begins the story of fidelity, which requires that we overcome ourselves.

Thinking on these things forces me to revisit something I posted late last month on not repaying evil for evil. Elder Sampson, a Russian Orthodox monk, who insisted that his spiritual children forgive, said, referring to the unwillingness of some under his direction to forgive, "I’ve always concluded: this means that they still have not gotten the point, that the whole secret, that all the salt of Christianity lies in this: to forgive, to excuse, to justify, not to know, not to remember." I took issue with his insistence on justifying. This morning I think I understand, at least in my mind, what it means to be justified by Christ a little better, a little deeper.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis

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