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Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

From John 9
Jesus answered the Jews, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”

Jesus lived his life easily because he never questioned his purpose. He didn’t ask, as most of us do, why he was getting up in the morning. More thoroughly than we can imagine, he knew his Father. He knew the sound of his breathing and the key of his song. He knew where He was going and followed along.

At least, that’s what he told the Jews. “The Son only does what he sees the Father doing; what he does, the Son will do also.”

Jesus implored his listeners, “Please! Hear my word and believe in the one who sent me, and so you will find eternal life.” Eternal moment in the Kingdom of God, now and forever.

I quickly get confused by thoughts about time. The length of my days is seventy years – or eighty if I have the strength, and I finish my years with a moan. Actually, those are Moses’ words in Psalm 90, but they feel right to me. I don’t know much about eternity, except what I can experience in the here and now.

That’s called “flow.” How wonderful is it that a man with a name like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gets to come up with such a simple, perfect, single word for the eternal moment – the moment in which all of life occurs. I am only flogged into the past (remembering/regretting) or cast into the future (planning/anticipating/dreading) when I wonder about my purpose. It fails me. It hides from me. I want more.

I think too much, and in a flash I’m lost. Drawn inside myself I can become reluctant to come out again.

How can that be? God made me to reflect on my life and consider my purpose. Didn’t he? On the other hand, before he became sick unto death with his own lung cancer, Dr. Paul Kalanithi asked, “If the unexamined life is not worth living, is the unlived life worth examining?”

Zorba the Greek didn’t take time to answer that question; he just dragged his writer friend onto the dance floor and shouted “Opa!” Jesus doesn’t answer it either; he’s too busy living and calling on us to follow him. But for me, the inner life is seductive. It invites me in.

I am happy, therefore, to know that God wants to have his way with me. The motherhouse of the Carthusian order, named Le Grand Chartreuse, is hidden deep within the French Alps. The monks who live there all their lives like to quote Jeremiah: “Lord, you seduced me. And I was seduced.”

Into your hands I commit myself, Father. To you I commend my spirit, for you have ransomed me. When you find your way into the deepest parts of me you do not become lost, because you have made it all. My confusion does not frighten you. Even there in my darkness, your right hand holds me fast. You make the night shine like the day. In thy light, we see light. Seduce me, Lord. (Psalms 31, 139, 36, and Jeremiah 20)

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