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Monday, January 15, 2007

Reality

I've been very frustrated lately with the idea of reality. Everyday I encounter the reality of most people's lives - single parent homes; kids who eat free breakfast and lunch at school everyday; families with a parent, uncle, or sister in jail; young people with no desire to go to college or even get a high school GED; hearing about people's sex lives as if they were talking about the latest movie they had seen........ And then I come home to my Catholic friends where our most difficult struggles revolve around not being able to make it to daily Mass or adoration. That's obviously minimizing the struggles we face in our Christian journey, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem like our struggles are as difficult as other people's. At least we have hope that our hardships are for a reason whereas secular society doesn't really have an explanation for why life sucks. So the problem I'm faced with is how do I reconcile these two realities - that which most people find themselves living, and that which I'm told (and in truth I do believe) is the ultimate reality? How do I keep one foot in both so as to bridge the two? Or am I supposed to put both feet in the Heavenly reality and somehow reach out to the secular one?

4 comments:

Matt Linderman said...

Well, the obvious answer is to share the "ultimate reality" with those who don't have that hope or joy that we've been given in faith. How exactly that looks, I'm not really sure. It does seem that it is easier to do that with those who are so broken and are looking for something already. In a lot of ways, you don't have to try to convince them that they need Jesus the way you might with the comfortable upper/middle class. I remember somebody saying that as a Christian, we are just one beggar showing another beggar where the bread is. We're really no better than they are. We've just been lucky enough to find a stash of food and we ought to share that with those around us who are starving.

Aaron said...

Do you remember playing the card game Mao? The game has lots of secret rules which folks don't know about. Sometimes it seems like there are no rules at all, that everything is arbitrary. But it's not: there really are rules and if you know them the game makes sense. I think that's sort of the way your two realities are: some people understand what life is really about and though they have struggles, they can put them in the right context. Other folks are making all the wrong connections in life, misunderstanding how it all works. If you think that all the things the world promotes - sex, drugs, material gain - will make you happy, you're going to end up unhappy, and when you're unhappy you're just going to seek after them all the more. But if you realize that fulfillment is found in Jesus Christ, then whether you have lots of nifty stuff or not, you have peace and joy. (Cf. St. Paul saying he has learned to live in all circumstances, well fed or hungry, etc.)

Joe said...

This is a loaded post. Maybe it just means that all peoples need to be ministered to.

Why not have both realities. Not to play fast and loose with theology but my immediate thought is to bring Heaven to the present. If we live the Mass and the Mass is Heaven isn't that having both realities. One we are presented with, the other that which we are to aspire to. Living God's commandments is drawing Heaven to earth.

I belive we should not find fault in others but be a light. Simple and cliche maybe... but testimony through life is the most powerful and hopefully your frustration will turn to joy and others will be able to see the light of God in you.

Thats all I have to say.

Sydney said...

Joe, thanks for your point about the Mass. For me, that's been an awesome realization that we enter into the heavenly reality every time we join in the celebration of the Mass. And the part of it is, we don't really see or understand how Heaven is united with Earth, but in faith we believe it to be true. That we become one with all of the saints and angels and enter into "God's time." So that makes me think that even though there's a lot of people out there who don't share in this reality, that's okay because whether they know it or not, they are existing in a spiritual reality. Just like we don't have to understand what really happens at the Mass, our mere presence there puts us in the presence of God. And then it's up to God to do the rest. So, I guess we just have to keep on keeping on and trust that God will use us to bring his joy and truth to others, even when they have no clue that that's what is going on.