Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolution Time: Catechism

I don’t hear voices or see visions, at least not in waking hours. But quite often in moments of quiet prayer—at mass or at home in my quiet-prayer place—a thought will come to me with crystal clarity. I have yet to go completely wrong following one of these “prayer thoughts.”

Such a thought came to me about a month ago after a long sleepless night of tossing and turning over my memoir, The Long Walk Home, and what the bloody hell to do with it. I went to mass at 7 a.m. as I often do, with only two hours’ sleep under my hat, and I had the thought that led to Gulliver.

That is, in the middle of mass, when I probably should have been more attentive to the liturgy, I understood that I could publish my experience with an abusive guru at age nineteen by fictionalizing it in a certain fashion. Doing so, I could preserve all the dynamics of what happened, especially its effects on me near the beginning of a long, winding path to the Catholic Church—while also veiling the identities of others.

That’s as clear as I can be or want to be about what I’ve done in posting thirteen excerpts so far, including the latest yesterday, “Aftermath: Dreaming of Gulliver.”

All of which is preamble to this: I had another clear thought this morning while attempting a small bit of morning prayer at home.

The thought was, It’s time I got back to the Catechism. Since today is December 31, the eve of the New Year, this thought formed itself into a resolution.

The resolution is that, beginning tomorrow when I come home from visiting family for First Night, I will resume my series of posts on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which trailed off into silence—nearly two years ago! 

I couldn’t believe it when I looked up that date. I had begun a series of posts on the 900-page, 2800-some-paragraph Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in 2012 and then I had discontinued it after 44 posts in February 2013. Then I realized why. Since that time, or for nearly two years, I have been whacking away at Gulliver and his story and mine.

Now I am posting the “whole story,” or as much of it as I can publish at the present time. I have a deeply satisfying sense of completion about the whole Gulliver story. By the end of January, I hope to have all twenty-odd excerpts from The Long Walk Home up for anyone to read at any time.

Then I will move on. Through the Catechism. To Montreal.

I wish to study the Catechism in 2015. This is my desire, this is my resolution. When I opened the CCC this morning to see where I had left off in February 2013, the page fell open to the heading “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (paragraph 232).

This is lovely and this is ironic. Lovely because the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, in which I am currently participating, have raised a big question about the Trinity for me.

Ironic too. G. I. Gurdjieff begins his tome Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” As part of the Gulliver journey, I am writing about Gurdjieff and my complicated debt to him. I am no longer a Gurdjieffian. I am a meat-and-potatoes Catholic.

But then I had another thought, and the thought is both Catholic and Gurdjieffian. Here was the thought: It’s all about reconciliation, right?

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