Before anything else:
Two UD alums just lost their 3 year old and 6 year old daughters in a car accident the other day. Please pray for them and consider participating in this fund for them.
Do I say something about this or do I not?
Lewis said, when his wife died: “I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate if they do, and if they don’t.”
I’ve found that suffering of this magnitude often is best respected with silence — the silence of Mary watching her Son on the cross, perhaps even the mysterious silence of God the Father that drives all of us–His Son included–into anguish and loneliness and fear.
Some people conclude that this silence reveals absence. They ask “why” and of course receive no answer.
Others discover in the silence the gaze from Jesus on his cross.
C. S. Lewis describes grief better than most people–but only because, in this book, he was describing it from the inside:
“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?” (Lewis, A Grief Observed)
“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.” (Ibid)
“It is hard to have patience with people who say, ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.” (Ibid)
Also, I’m not going to apologize for being a “downer” in a (normally lighthearted) Quick Takes post. It is okay to be sad. And it is good to grieve for others. I don’t know whether it helps in any practical way, but it seems to me rather a matter of justice that we give up our own happiness sometimes to grieve for the pain of others, even those we do not know.
The Pope (as usual) has challenging things to say that we ought to listen to. (Yes I’m okay with ending some of my sentences with a preposition.)
He says (as others have said) that when we rely on other things or people besides God, we become pagans, because we turn these other things or people into idols.
But then he makes a really interesting point about being a pagan and how it affects our identity.
When we cease to trust in God, when we cease to call God “Father,” we begin to see ourselves differently too:
“Do I still have a name or have I begun to lose my name and … call myself ‘I’? I, me, with me, for me, only ‘I’? For me, for me . . . always that self-centeredness: ‘I.’”
Without God, or with God pushed to the periphery, we think of ourselves only as an “I”. And spite Martin Buber’s beautiful reflections on the “I-Thou” relationship, which Pope Benedict mentioned quite a lot in his writings, Pope Francis here suggests that all of this “I” and “me” is actually deceptive. We are thinking about ourselves all wrong.
Only in God do we receive our true name, which is not “I” or “me,” but “Son,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. But when we place our trust in others, our accomplishments, or even ourselves, we lose sight of our true worth as a child of God. (Catholic News Agency)
My true name is not among the names I (!) use all the time: I, me, my etc.
It is “Son” or “Daughter.”
We recognize our true identity with that name.
And this is beautiful:
“If one of us in life, having so much trust in man and in ourselves, we end up losing the name, losing this dignity, there is still a chance to say this word that is more than magic, it is more, it is strong: ‘Father.’”
“He always waits for us to open a door that we do not see and says to us: ‘Son.’”
(via Catholic News Agency, “Rely on God alone, Pope Encourages in Homily”)
I will be returning to Louisiana at the end of the year to see some of my former students graduate! They were sophomores during my first year in ACE, and now they’re all grown up.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to see them!
And MORE good news:
Although for a while there was some serious doubt that ACE teachers would be returning to the Diocese of Baton Rouge…….
Some miracle happened and so they are!
I am so happy that my former school and the other schools ACE serves in that diocese will continue to receive support from new teachers. We’re not perfect, and we don’t know everything, but ACE teachers bring a lot of love to the table.
Speaking of ACE…
The ACE Bus, on it’s national tour, came to Colorado last week and I was able to reconnect with some amazing people and meet former ACE teachers who live out here.
Read about their awesome visit here:
It has been a busy, busy week. I’ve been pushing myself to go out and meet new people and it has been lots of fun, but my Introversion is kicking in big time.
And hey, it’s the beginning of spring break.