Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Know thyself,..'

This title, I am reminded of a scene from an ‘Incredible Hulk’ comic book, where Hulk stares into a statue of Socrates before being reverted to Bruce Banner.  Who am I?  Where did I come from? Where am I going?  How can I be happy?  These were the questions of the pre-Socratics, trying to figure out Truth.  Voila, these are million dollar questions that I now find myself asking.  Its truly been both a grace and a burden, that during this time away from seminary, I get to continuously dig deeper into myself.

First off, I am a sinner.  A fallen human being with a disordered will trying to follow a proper intellect.  That said, I guess I belong to the human race.  Still there are soo many questions that I have.  The world has undergone a change in the last few months since I last wrote, and I will address certain issues.  Where to begin?  The blocking of the pit-bull ban?   The election of Trump? My own relationship to the world?

About nine months ago, I was granted a ‘time of reflection’ to figure out where do I fit in this crazy world.  The Church, a microcosm of society if you will seemed to me as confusing as the world.  ‘Go and make a mess!’ ,.. Said our Holy Father,… Well, the mess begins with trying to figure out where in the blue hell I fit.  Daily I feel our Lord’s presence.  In silence He speaks to the heart, and His message is to trust… My fallen nature though, sometimes is deaf to the message. 

Being thrust into the world, the first time in 5yrs or so, I found myself Christian, practicing, seeking holiness, wanting to fight, and completely bamboozeled.  Through contacts in social media, I have had the pleasure of connecting with old friends from university and high school, and especially with women.  Women who are hurt, confused and angry,.. The reason, in my opinion?  That men forgot to be men, and have turned into some quasi narcissistic creature complete with an overdeveloped sensitivity.  I too have turned that way.

My admiration for superheroes, Optimus Prime, and WWE, aside,.. I must find a way back to reality.  Sure, there is some ‘good’ is seeking to emulate what or who is noble, but my focus during seminary was not necessarily Jesus.  Oh sure, He was an ideal,.. But to create the ultimate ‘Marco’ strong, courageous and willing to fight the ‘good fight’ was the priority.  The solution, is to make a resolution and let Jesus be in charge, totally.  A tall task, and damn near impossible, but with proper guidance, perhaps an attainable goal from a ‘human perspective?’

Our Lord has shown me that my ‘strengths’ can also be my ‘weaknesses’ and the enemy is constantly on the prowl trying to destroy me.  As a man, I was described as a twisted combination of Conan the Barbarian meeting Thomas Aquinas?  Hmmm,.. Sounds about right, I guess.  While the strength and courage and pseudo-intelligence on the surface may seem noble,.. On the inside, like Conan, I’m emotively unstable, irrational and prone to at times ‘Not thinking before I act.’  My brain has always been hardwired for Truth, but it can become a weakness and cause for scandal, when I wish to dominate and crush another, whom I don’t see as intellectually respectable.  Still like Thomas, in silence and alone, I sometimes wish to burn everything, unsure of my own capacities. 

As a man, I don’t really fear anyone, my aggression rejoices in confrontation and trying to be a savior.  Still, Our Lord will crush my ego at times, reminding me that it is He who Saves, and I am but a speck in the cosmos.  To discern God’s Will for your life, is to allow Jesus to hold up a giant mirror in front of you.  One that you cannot escape from.  God willing, this purification will not be too painful,.. because He is revealing every fault, hypocrisy and failure in me.  God has inserted Himself into all facets of my life, drawing me a picture.

-In the gym, I’m not as strong,.. I’m pushing 39, and feeling it.

-At Jiu Jitsu, despite being a so-called ‘high level’ purple, I’m tapping to guys younger, faster, stronger and who started after me.

 -In academics, I find myself butting heads with teachers, who I judge not sufficiently ‘orthodox’ enough, forgetting that I may learn something.

-At work, being a ‘rockstar’ pastoral minister while burying old people who have lived a full life,.. God will give me the test to bury a child, as I stumble upon words treading carefully…

-In the Church, I am considered a ‘modernist’ by the ‘Trad’ crowd, and a ‘Trad’ by the ‘modernist’ crowd.  I just want to follow Jesus period.

-In the world, I feel like an alien, a regular guy, who is now the fringe.  I don’t wear ‘skinny’ jeans or drink coffees with names I can’t pronounce…

Discernment is tough... Just sayin'...

St Ignatius,  ora pro nobis