Monday, September 24, 2012

A timely proverb

     As we begin this 25th week in Ordinary Time, we listen to readings from the Hebrew Scriptures from the Book of Proverbs.  Today we heard "refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in your power to do it for him.  Say not to your neighbor, 'Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give,' when you can give at once."  Translated, that proverb becomes "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today."  This proverb is the bane of my existence, causing me persistent annoyance and exasperation (the definition of a "bane") because I am a great procrastinator.  A saying that I saw somewhere years ago keeps coming to mind - to procrastinate allows you to always have something to do tomorrow.

     I have been procrastinating with my posts (it has been since Friday since I have shared with you).  I apologize.

     In Sunday's second reading, Saint James asks where conflict and division come from within us.  He points out that they come from within, from our passions, from our selfish desires.  Those aspects of our human existence do not come from the higher level of our being.  This brings to mind once again the obvious truth that we are not one dimensional.  We are complex, possessing a God given and God like quality that needs to be nurtured.  But we also possess a darker side, coming from our fallen human nature.  It is the old angel on one shoulder / devil on the other.  It is described as light vs darkness, life vs death, good vs evil, human vs divine.  These opposites war against each other, bringing turmoil and confusion to our lives.  We are tempted, for the sake of "peace" or rather the "lack of conflict" to let our passions rule, to go with the flow, to accept mediocrity, to blend in.

    And yet the great battle has been won, victory is ours, sin has been vanquished and death destroyed.  Light has replaced the darkness of confusion and doubt.  The war is over, and we are children of the Light and sharers in the Victory.  But why is there still struggle and conflict within?  Why is it so hard to live uprightly?  One reason may be that we are not convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ has won and that we share that victory.  Our passions, our selfish self, will not accept defeat.  And so we battle on, in skirmishes and struggles.  You could say that we are never quite ready to accept defeat ... but we are equally unwilling to accept victory.  In the great civil war that touched our land 150 years ago, the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia ended the war, but the battles continued for some time afterwards.  Even when it ended, the war continued in the hearts and experiences of so many.  In fact, even today, that civil war is still being waged, not in battles but in hearts.  If that is still the case in that conflict, is it any wonder that the forces of darkness still hold on to us and cloud our victory celebration?


No comments:

Post a Comment