Monday, September 30, 2013


Once I prayed, ‘Religion is our protection against You,’ betraying my own self-deception along with the hidden thoughts of countless other hearts. We think we have settled the score and ‘made our peace with God’ when we ‘accepted’ Jesus, so now we have the right to keep our treasures buried, lest they be discovered and plundered, or spent.

The world classifies belief in God as just another private fetish which we are free to indulge in as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. We go along with this charade and wear our ‘public’ religion as a mask, but what is our real religion? Defend our Catholicism or our Orthodoxy or our ‘walk with Jesus’ as we must, but in the dark night of faith, whom do we trust?

True religion, like true worship, is always more than we bargained for. The living God will no more stay ensconced in His distant heaven than the living Christ is willing to remain in His tomb. We may believe our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. We may trust in Him for our salvation. But we live as though our safety consists precisely in making sure He stays away.

Inwardly we plead with Christ more anxiously than the Gerasenes that He leave our town, so we don’t lose any more of our precious pigs.

The psalmist declares, ‘You scour the wicked off the earth like rust,’ but what about the rest of us? Not the ‘wicked’ yet not exactly the ‘righteous’? No, not the righteous at all. We want the wicked to be no more because they too, like our own sins and negligence, are witnesses against us. How happy we should be, if only we, the meek, could inherit the earth, right now!

Save us, O Son of God! Deliver us from our religious fantasy! You fed our ancestors with manna and quails in the wilderness, and still they refused to enter a land of delight. Today, You feed us with Your very self, tendered to us in the mystery of Your Body and Blood, and still we refuse to ascend Your holy mountain, where the Light of transfiguration casts no shadows.

    Yahweh, who has the right to enter Your tent,
    or to live on Your holy mountain?

    The man whose way of life is blameless,
    who always does what is right,
    who speaks the truth from his heart,
    whose tongue is not used for slander,

    who does no wrong to his fellow,
    casts no discredit on his neighbor,
    looks with contempt on the reprobate,
    but honors those who fear Yahweh;

    who stands by his pledge at any cost,
    does not ask interest on loans,
    and cannot be bribed to victimise the innocent.
    If a man does all this, nothing can ever shake him.

Psalm 15, Jerusalem Bible

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