These are days…

An Apologia (or by way of explanation): For as long as I can recall, I have been able to see both sides of an argument, indeed, variances in points of view, nuances of perspective. When I was younger, I oft berated myself for what I considered to be my near-constant vacillation in not being able to take one point or one side of any consideration and stick to it. Too, I would poke fun at myself (in an attempt to lighten the burden of my disdain for my indecisiveness), saying, “Give me a point of view and I’ll debate that, and then I’ll switch sides!”

It’s not that I don’t have opinions. I have loads of them! They arise, as I believe all human opinions do, as ongoing perceptions and observations from the daily, moment-to-moment employ of reason and emotion in reflecting on personal history via the storehouse of memory coupled with (compelled by!) the constant flood of stimuli from the surrounding world and inner world. Nevertheless, I continue to see multiple facets of any subject or issue.

All this said, there is one place I stand, one position, as a follower of Jesus as I perceive him through the biblical accounts of his living and dying and rising, that I hold dear. That is, on the side of love and justice, unconditional and impartial benevolence and fairness for and with all. Do I fail in being, in doing love and justice for and with all? Yes, especially when I choose my opinions, my preferences and prejudices, as the truth of my living. When that happens, I have learned, in penitence, to repent of this expression of my sin-of-self, so, again, to be an open vessel into which God’s Love, by the Holy Spirit, can be poured and, thus, to be poured out of me for and with all.

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These are days,
it seems to me,
of hardened edges on all human flesh
(mine own, I admit, and, I submit, ev’ryone else)
about things that – to us all – individually matter.

E’en sharper, our arguments
of our existential positions and political opinions.
Each of us, an army of one
waging war against ev’ryone else
(or at least [most?] searching charred rhetorical battlefields,
craving the comfort of like-minded company,
for a sign of anyone waving a banner similar to our own).

Because I perceive, I believe this to be true,
these are days where and when
we ought, we need be softer of soul
and gentler in heart,
thus, kinder.
So (to be able, e’en willing!) to listen more
and talk less,
quicker to learn more about views other than our own
and slower to air our convictions;
our declarations oft fired (scorched?) more by passion
than fueled by reason
and formed and framed e’en less, far less by love.

Because I perceive, I believe this to be true,
these are days where and when
it ain’t likely this state of things will change much.
For, I perceive, I believe, we have lost our sense of our common humanity
(for me, a believer in God, created in the Imago Dei)
and, thus, our ability to treasure our shared dignity,
without which mutual respect is but a memory.

So, I pray:
Come, Holy Spirit, refresh us with the breath of the mists of that first dawn’s time
where and when we lived in vulnerably naked innocence sublime. Amen.

2 thoughts on “These are days…

  1. Thank you for this Paul!!!! Lord knows we need prayer for these times!!!!! It’s absolutely maddening these days to watch TV news

    One of the things I have always loved about you IS your ability to see both sides….. even when I wanted you to just see MY side!!!!! LOL!! It’s one of the things that make you a great priest!!!!

    This all makes me think back to the Rodney King days when the slogan was “can’t we all just get along?” Things seem to be so much worse now. I’m not sure a new slogan would work so I’m grateful for your prayer!!

    Much love!!

    Loretta

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loretta, I am concerned, very, about what I perceive as the antagonistic state of our nation and world. At times, I worry, that is, I am deeply anxious with no recourse of how to ameliorate the situation. However, rather than deal along with my inner roiling anxiety, I pledge every day to do my part in doing, in being love and justice (though, yes, I fail, I try again). I also pledge to pray, as the Apostle saith, without ceasing, that the Holy Spirit will continue to breath upon and within us all, restoring a sense of right balance; that is, less rampant self-interest and more devotion to discerning and doing the common good.

    It also occurs to me that it might take a national crisis – a threat from without (another nation, another enemy in whatever form, something akin to 9/11) – to make us turn away from our individual (whether persons or parties or interests or influences) concerns and turn outward as a whole body to face the hazard. I pray such doesn’t happen. Yet we do not seem to me to be predisposed to band and bond together in solidarity over much of anything.

    Love

    Like

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