Monday, December 29, 2014

Word for the Day: Walk

As I’ve already told you, I identify with the Apostle John, though originally for all the wrong reasons. When your guru thinks he’s Jesus Christ and hints that you are his “beloved,” it may be time to check the exits. That’s what happened to me in the early days with Gulliver.

I don’t know who’s crazier: me for sticking with Gulliver after that, or you for sticking with “Witness” after everything I’ve told you.

Today, forty-three years after my “you are John” moment and nearly seven after being received into the Catholic Church, I have a more authentic love for John. This is partly because I want to be as close as possible to the real Jesus Christ, as the Apostle John was. It’s partly because, like John, I want to write in old age about my love for Jesus in his Church. With this blog and my other writings I continue to try to explain why it made sense for a 57-year-old former Gurdjieffian to convert to the Catholic Church, and why and how that now-63-year-old Catholic is happier today than ever.

That’s how I understand witnessing. You don’t have to understand it that way. This is my blog. As Ronald Reagan said famously, I paid for this microphone.

It touches me that the Church chooses for its post-Nativity liturgy the letters of John. Who better than the boy Apostle (he was surely the youngest) to offer the backbeat during the octave of Christmas?

Of course I know that the identity of the John who wrote the three Epistles of John is a bone over which experts will snarl probably forever. Was he the same John who sat by Jesus’s side at the Last Supper and knelt with Mary at the foot of the Cross, the brother of James who was present at the Transfiguration and was one of the first to discover the empty tomb on Easter morning? Was he the Evangelist? Was he also John the Revelator?

Speaking of backbeat . . .

Were all these Johns the same John? It makes sense to me to think so. It makes sense because Catholic tradition says so, and I choose to follow Catholic tradition instead of the latest Protestant preacher to hang out his or her shingle.

Today, I found a new little reason to love John. In the reading, he tells us to do what I’ve been doing for years: to walk. “Whoever claims to abide in [Jesus] ought to walk just as he walked.”

I love walking, but then you probably know that about me. Like reading and pondering John, walking brings me closer to Jesus. It is possible to say a rosary while walking. It is possible to meditate on the passing scene or one’s own thoughts. It is possible to get to Catholic places while walking, like Santiago de Compostela or the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal.

I will continue walking, and from today I will do my best to “walk just as he walked.” I don’t have any secrets for this walking. It’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, making your own pilgrim’s progress on the path to the Celestial City.

Well, time to walk to mass. Thanks for listening. To me. And to Ollabelle.

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