Sunday, July 17, 2005

Being anti Anomie

We had an excellent homily on the parable of the weeds this morning, but these two lines from today's reading from Romans struck home with me today:
We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
I think religious faith is not, for most of us, written large, with a boom. It's not an action flick with the DTS sound turned up too high. It's more like being struck dumb for the most fleeting of moments, and if you are very attentive - very, very attentive - you might find that your heart has been reoriented just the tiniest amount. It's like Keats' Joy, "ever biding adieu." To know it was ever there you have to find the time and make the effort to be receptive rather than active. The alternative is what Francis has called the "Conundrum of Happiness":
Happiness, in Aristotle's definition, is that which we seek as an end in itself, and for no other reason. Everyone wants to be happy. However, happiness cannot be sought directly; it has to be approached through more concrete instruments. Few of us have a perfect, unerring vision of what steps and acquisitions will make us happy. The proof is in the frequently encountered anomie of the well-to-do, who are nominally equipped to do or procure anything they think they'd like.
I think it was Pascal who said that humanity is like a lock, and Christianity is the key.

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