All That I Have Written Is Straw. . .

Meanderings of a Catholic Devout

“Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.”

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My boyfriend and I were candidly discussing a portion of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5: 21-48.  I shared with him some of the ideas I learned behind these verses that I hadn’t previously known, or perhaps didn’t really think through beforehand. One such idea had to do with oaths (verses 33-37). According to these verses, it’s not only about not swearing before or to God, but not swearing by anything, because what you say should already be truthful, right?

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”

Based on the commentary I was studying, Jesus teaches that using a substitute for “God” to swear by has the same gist of the original intention. Somehow, after hypothetical examples of what one’s “word” should mean and what an atheist would say and intend, I made the comment that we should always aspire to be perfect in our words and meanings (cf. Matt. 5:48). I—’s reply (sarcastically said) was that if someone would consult God on every thought and decision made, then they should be a priest or nun, and that if I was like that, we’d need to reassess the relationship.

I responded that I aspire to be a saint (because a saint is someone who is in heaven) and then we began chatting about why it matters if the Church declares one to be a saint—another story for another time.

But I thought about his comment. I don’t consult God for all the decisions I make. That is my free will and my sin. I wonder why I don’t consult more often, though. It’s not that I want God to make my decisions for me, but rather that God should  be at the forefront of my mind when I do make my choices, not because I fear his judgement or that he’s “telling” me what to do, but because I love the Lord so much that I want my choices to please him.

Understandably, I know that sounds cheesy and cult-ish. But my heart almost hurts, it makes me teary-eyed, when I think of my offenses against him. And I know this isn’t a point that most can relate to, necessarily: to love something so whole-heartedly that you want your very existence to be an expression of honor to and a love of them.

I can’t explain why I have this incessant and aching desire to be holy. And by “holy”, I don’t mean becoming a nun (although I did discern that option once in my life). Holiness is being the best of who you were originally created to be: an image, a reflection of divinity itself.

If I reflect God, then I have to love. If I love, it has to be unconditional. It has to be hopeful. It has to be helplessly poor-in-spirit. It has to be merciful. That doesn’t mean that this is how I will always be because, sadly, my humanity prevents it from being so, but I can try. And trying means that I have to aspire to hold the Lord in my thoughts, in my words, and in my heart—every day, all the time, not just on Sunday.

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Written by Written Straw

January 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

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