Monday, August 31, 2009

Jesus Christ

All I want is to know Jesus Christ, and the power of His rising, all I want is to know my Lord and in Him to abide....those words of Paul must echo in every human heart if we are ever to know happiness but also to ever know our destiny. Nothing in this whole world or my life makes sense or is worth fighting for if not to belong to Him and to love Him. He is everything. He who poured himself out....we Christians hear it so much without really understanding it.

About eight years ago I had a bad fall from a horse that rendered me unconscious. Yet I led my horse across a large field to a neighboring house. As soon as I knocked on the door my eyesight came back and the real world appeared before me like magic. It is difficult to describe. That incident changed my life in many significant ways. But it was only last week that I realized that the accident was an exact mirror of my Christian life.

Here I am dancing with my immortal soul, doing what I know is right, doing what I have learned, doing what I have seen, but in a large part doing it blindly. I am groping through life and leading others with me. And I had a large fall. Without even realized the import of it I did offend God in a major way - I was truly blind.

Yet as I knocked on the door Jesus opened it and the real world appeared before my eyes. I saw in that moment that even someone like me who follows the Lord and loves Him can fall so deeply and inexorably. I realized that I absolutely cannot gut through my Christian life with what I know and study and plow through diligently. God is pleased with those efforts, don't get me wrong. But it is much harder that way.

At the same time as the utter realization of my helplessness and worthlessness of my efforts, I was completely filled with the mercy of the Lord and knew His love and forbearance.

I had heard from many sources that when I receive the Eucharist that Jesus actually takes us into himself. That was a new thought for me after all these years. I always looked at it the other way around. I was eating, taking in the Lord's body. I realized that I was seriously turned around and in many ways had no idea how to start going in the right direction.

It like teaching a horse to use his hind end to move forward. Horses are naturally front end beasts but when you put a rider on them they must reverse that instinct and learn to move forward from the back. You can do this artificially with draw reins and larges bits but even though you get the collection it is a painful life for the horse. You can get it but they eventually go mentally ill or get just plain angry. Or you can slowly patiently teach the horse to round his back, carry you and move from behind. It takes practice, patience and above all respect for the horse and what he is trying to learn.

In many ways, when I was in control of my Catholic life I was very good at using draw reins, bits, spurs and whips (metaphorically) to get the "Christlike" result I thought God wanted. But once I realized I had no clue to what Jesus is really about and got on my knees and asked Him to teach me about Himself, I was just as blind as wehn I fell off that horse.