Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mass and Mystery

A few weeks ago a friend wrote a blog that made me cry. The Ideal of Perfection, he titled it. I've been thinking quite a bit about perfection lately. I abhor it and strive for it simultaneously. I don't want it pressed upon me, or expected of me, or least of all, to find it in someone else. And yet, in some ways it fascinates me. Failing perfection is both a crushing and freeing feat.

There is no place perfection is more freeing than in Mass. The Mystery of Christ and the Community of the Saints brings a settled feeling that if perfection were attainable, this would be the only way it would be worthwhile... shared amongst the devoted, obedient, and severely flawed created lovers of He who is beyond, outside of perfection. However, I can say this: Commitment to obedience is SO much easier in the Catholic church. It is almost not even a thought, it is so simple. It is built in to the structure of the Catholic Life, and therefore, it is not a freedom or a choice. If you choose Catholic you choose a life bound to the pursuit of perfection... always knowing you will fail. The Protestant church does not include built in obedience, but built in Rebellion. They cry again and again "Not your way but MINE!" Each generation protesting something in the generation previous so that they will never cease to be protestants. So that Obedience must consistently be a choice, a daily battle, a constant struggle, an uphill climb battling elements which will most certainly steal your soul, so that when you finally reach the perfected moment of Mountain Top Spirituality, you see clearly that this is not what Christ meant by "Be holy as I am Holy."

Timothy's blog brought back to me some part I've lost. LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI: branded into my skin, forever borne on my arm for all the world to know that I commit to this: As we pray, so we believe. I know that Catholicism and Protestantism will never be one church. I know there will always be some resentment, hesitancy, and ill-will between them. I know that neither is perfect and so neither can my commitment be perfect. But no where does this impossibility give me the freedom, the right, to say, "Well I can't be perfect. I can't be obedient to both churches, so I will throw up my arms and run with wild abandon into sin." Not that this is my mentality. More often, I feel more at home in myself consciously choosing sin. Since I cannot be perfect, and because I hate the disappointment of failure, I will choose failure, and that way, I cannot be disappointed... only fractured and depressed.

Today, I am reminded that this is a New Year. Advent has begun. Lent is on it's way, and freedom is not found in perfection, commitment, or obedience, but in my broken and fractured acceptance that I am because He was, is, and will be. Again and Again. I choose Catholic and Protestant, because I choose Christ, Man and God. Obedience and Rebellion. Homousios. Of the same substance. Two sides of the same coin. Separately unattainable. Together truth.

1 comment:

Iscah Mara said...

perfection. failure. transcendence. blood. i like the way you deal with the paradox. very open, passionate and hopeful.