Monday, February 28, 2011

Humble Homilies

Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth?

Job 39:1
A few days ago I wrote an entry entitled "Spring Cleaning" and in it I put the following metaphor:

"If you bought a dozen apples and when you got home you found thirteen in the bag and one of them was full of worms, would you hold on to it because maybe it was one of those you paid for? Would you not send it immediately into the garbage? And then wouldn't you carefully examine the other twelve, and if you found another one with worms would you hold on to it because you know you paid for it? Wouldn't you rather trash it?

We should carefully examine, under the clear light of reason, all the thoughts we carry in the bag of our own thinking and quickly dispense with the wormy ones. Then we should go into the corners and closed up places of our minds and find the things that may have been there for years but need to be vacuumed up and thrown out."

When I lived in New York I would sometimes visit a Catholic church. I'm neither a Catholic nor a church goer, but it was the nearest church, one block away from where I lived. It was a quiet, serene place where I could sit and meditate about things, away from the noise of Manhattan.

It was a big old building with about a half dozen priests residing there. There was a zealous Latino whom everyone loved. There was a bumbler, a nice man but one who had trouble with his homilies. There was a lazy man who gave no homilies at all, but rushed through the service as fast as he could to get back to his poker game, or his stamp collection, or whatever his real passion was.

But thee was one old priest who was an inspiration. He was a gentle, intelligent, compassionate man with a sense of humor. (Because of his age he would sometimes have another priest assisting him. One day he introduced the second priest as the saint they were celebrating that day.) I soon discovered that he was the officiating priest every Thursday evening, so I made it a point to be there when I wasn't working.

When he sermonized it was from deep experience. He had seen everything and heard everything and hence was not stuck in the dogmatic world of religion. His main topic was on how important it is to allow oneself the freedom to pursue one's own spirituality even in the face of all the dangers and distraction of life. Referring to the scripture he would ask what good is it to gain all the riches of the world if one loses one's own soul. He identified some of those dangers as temptations to believe things that aren't true, to hold on to religion as an unsubstantial habitual practice or scripture as a lifeless reference manual without searching for the real meaning of things.

He spoke of great sacred writings from the world over and though he held to his conviction of what Christ meant to him, he didn't deny the existence of God's love in every corner of the world and in other traditions.

Simply put he wanted his congregation to watch and learn from life the true things from the false, that the (devil) will tell you lies and make you believe them and you'll never know where those lies come from. Those are the wild goats.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

Only 7 responses so far

I await your answer.


pacifica62 said...

Is it coincidence that the devil is often portrayed in pictures as being a goat.

bakelite buffoon said...

Being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea at the present time, I truly appreciate this entry. Thank you.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Twere it easy to discern the falsehoods from the truths, this would be a better place.