Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I want to be with Jesus in heaven, but first comes life on earth. Yesterday, that meant applying for passport renewals for Katie and me.
By three o’clock I was a mess. It had been a long, long holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving in New York and ending only a few days ago, when we knew that Marian was safely settled in Mysore. In between, there were a few surprises—you know, f-a-m-i-l-y. So I have been desperate to get back to work, even though I realize that after such holidays what I really need is a vacation.
Getting to work is especially important this January because we have some long, expensive travel planned for 2012, which will involve my ticking off the first four items on my Catholic Bucket List. As that absurd statement implies, I consider myself methodical, and when I have a plan, I hate anything getting my way.
Let me list the things that got in my way yesterday:
I may be very good at long-term plans but my short-term living needs work. I want to be with Jesus in heaven as much as I want to walk the Camino this spring but after a day like yesterday, living my life well—especially navigating what Father Giussani calls its “absurdly shifting conditions”—seems a more challenging goal than either heaven or Santiago de Compostella.
In the concluding chapter of The Religious Sense, Giussani writes:
How does the Unknown reveal its will to the human being? How does it communicate its intelligent plan that guarantees the meaning of everything? It speaks through apparently fortuitous circumstances, the banal conditions that determine the human being’s every instant.
What a paradox! In order to follow the absolute light of meaning, one would have to be obedient, like someone navigating in dense fog, moment by moment, obeying the very thing that is most apparently irrational, that is to say, absurdly shifting circumstances, subject to the wind of time.
We may have our eyes on a distant lighthouse, but first the fog, its horns and bells. This is why I need Jesus—a vision for the future, but especially a guide for the present. Katie would have been glad of some more Jesus in me yesterday.
Posted by Webster Bull at 6:17 AM