Thursday, September 8, 2016


Hell is an itch that only gets worse the more you scratch it. It is the home of everything that the Lord God would divide us from as far as the East is divided from the West. It is the jaws of every destructive, every consumptive, cruel thing that Christ descended to pluck us out of. It is the land where every dark dream comes true that men desire to inhabit, until they arrive there, only to realize it was not where dreams, but nightmares, come true. It is the fear, uncontrollable, for which fear was given us. And yet, for all this, the wonder is that men actually choose it, choose hell, over heaven.

Addiction, a word much made fun of, until it becomes one’s state of being. There is no slavery quite like it. Other types of slavery, at worst, must be endured until death, but death at least means liberation. Not so with addiction. Addiction prepares its bearers for an eternity of ever increasing terror, just as devotion prepares its companions for a world of ever increasing joy without end. Death is always a door, never a wall, always the entrance to the land we have chosen, never an exit from the prison we built for ourselves. Hence, the dreadful truth of ‘she made her bed, now let her sleep in it.’

God, the Divine Rescuer from all calamity, He whom we can wait upon for unconditional mercy, who makes even our worst choices and their results null and void in the end, whom we praise with songs of deliverance, ‘He tore the net, and we escaped, blessed be the name of Yahweh,’ Him we call Holy God, Mighty and Immortal, for all He is, all He can do, and eternally, yet does not annul our choice, but subjects Himself to our rejection, or joyfully accepts us all who truly turn to Him from the depths of our being, that He may show us the good things He has laid up for those who love Him.

Religion, as men call it, not really knowing what it is they name, is a switch. We walk into a room. It is dark. We feel for the switch to turn on the light, and when we find it, we flip the switch and the light comes. We can see our way. We can find what it is we came into the room for. No one has to tell us the switch is there. We just assume it is, because a dark room must have a switch to turn on the light. There’s no other reason to have a room. Sometimes, if we doubt the room has a switch we might enter it with a torch, a flash light, but when we find the switch, we flip it, and put the torch away.

Words are metaphors. They carry us over and above themselves, raising us high enough, if they are well spoken, to see over obstacles we find blocking our way. Sometimes they even reveal to us our destination, why there is a way at all, why we find ourselves already travelers when we awake, why we waken to know that where we are is not home, that we really live somewhere else, and that we must get back there. Thus the gift of language, proof of the Divine Word who speaks and it is done, and who has spared nothing but our choice, to lead us back to Himself and to the Father by the Spirit.

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