Friday, November 14, 2014

Word for the Day: Remain

In today’s reading, St. John writes to a lady, “Anyone who is so ‘progressive’ as not to remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God.”

Hasn’t that been the story of my life? Isn’t that the story of “My Generation” (boomers)? Not remaining?

We are so progressive! And we continue to progress—from Civil Rights and anti-war marches of the 1960s, through the Greening of America and eco-consciousness to meat-free zones and the ultimate good of our time, sustainability. Because if there is no transcendent meta-narrative (another sterling gift of my generation, postmodernism) then all we can hope for is keep the damn game going. 

But have we remained in the teaching of Christ? Or are we so enamored with our own progress and progressiveness that we have thrown our Christian heritage overboard?

That’s a rhetorical question. Of course, we’ve thrown it overboard.

The use of the word remain is waning, not remaining. I want to hold on to remaining. Nothing could be more countercultural. And wasn’t being countercultural what we really prided ourselves on in the 1960s?

As a Catholic, in fact, remaining is my ultimate goal. To remain is to dwell, and I do not know a more moving line in any translation of the Bible than the King James rendering of the last verse of Psalm 23:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” 

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