I am frustrated and puzzled and at times angry about it. The unfairness of it all is something I sometimes think though rarely allow to pass my lips to others.
What frustrates, puzzles and angers me at times?
My faith. Particularly my passion for it. I wonder why faith, my Catholic faith and my attempted embrace of Catholicism's doctrines, dogmas and teachings, is something that consumes much of my thinking while not doing so, seemingly, for others. It is at times maddening.
Into that frustration steps Fr. Denis Lemieux:
Going out from God so as to return to God—this is the basic structure and movement of all created reality, and most especially the creature man. ‘We come from the mind of God and return to the heart of God,’ was Catherine Doherty’s poetic expression of the principle. God made something that is ‘not-God’ so that this not-God could enter into a communion of love with Himself. And this is the whole story, the sweeping movement of the entire action of God, as far as our poor human minds can understand it.
Of course, freedom is at the heart of all this. It is no communion of love if there is no freedom. God is not a rapist, forcing Himself on us. It’s a very subtle dynamic, one which we don’t fully understand. We do not actually have the freedom to enter communion with God, any more than we have the freedom to swim the Atlantic ocean or fly to the top of Mount Everest. It is beyond us.
But our freedom is required, to dispose ourselves towards that reditus, that return to God. God has to achieve the deed, but our willingness to co-operate with Him is necessary. He will not force us to love Him, even though the power by which we love Him is ultimately given to us by Him.
And so, being free, we can refuse. The exitus can become not just a going out from, but a going away from. In truth, we go out only to return: the exitus is only and absolutely for the sake of the reditus. But something in us rebels at this, there is no question. We want something of our own, something that is not God’s and is not to do with God.
There is nothing of that nature in existence. And so the flight away from God is a flight into nothingness, oblivion. It is supremely ironic; we flee from God because we reject the utter dependence and servility of our position with Him. But in fleeing from God we discover the shocking totality of our poverty and nothingness: we cannot ascend to the heights by our own power. And so we collapse into various forms of slavery and degradation: enslaved to the passions, to the spirit of the age, to the devil’s machinations, ultimately to the inevitability of death and destruction.
Meanwhile, God in his mercy awaits our return. And the way back is as near as the nearest altar, as the nearest confessional, the local parish. The book quoted here is Spirit of the Liturgy, after all, and Ratzinger is talking about where this reditus occurs.
It occurs through, with, and in Jesus, and Jesus is with us most fully, most assuredly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The fact is that many folks aren't likely reading anymore and have clicked away but this sort of stuff I find fascinating, inspiring, moving, redemptive... necessary.
While others shrug.
Why in hell am I so weird comparatively speaking?