… Now everything is in a turmoil, mutual suspicions disrupt the peace. At every turn the troops make hostile demonstrations. The reason behind this state of affairs is a very bizarre call to arms. Three men thought they could create a big impression by hoisting a white flag on the top of the steeple of Saint-Laurent.” (Letter To Father Tempier in Rome, May 6, at Billens April 21, 1832: 421:VIII in Oblate Writings)
The image that comes to mind when reading Eugene’s letter of a 3-ring circus that might taking place. Politics and religion – all in the same mix and those of us sitting in the bleachers wondering which side do we attach ourselves to. Another image that comes to mind is that of wagons being circled – around what some believe to be of the utmost importance of our lives in faith, around our religion. Then others off to a side with their own circle of wagons to protect their beliefs – as if a belief is something that another can control, limit, reign-in… All the walls and locked gates and doors that cut us off from each other.
There are letters and articles written and both sides seem to polarize around their own views with no openings or invitations for dialogue. I see it in families, communities, my parish, my Church. Everyone taking a stance and protecting it as it it were life itself – with no possibility of meeting in the middle to come together. Doors and windows shut tightly and locked so that nothing may enter or leave. How do we invite God in if we keep the door barred from anything other than what we ‘know’? How can we create and have real dialogue, or love without rigid conditions?
Perhaps if we spend our time looking at Jesus, on the Cross – well then we won’t have enough time to build fences and walls, no time to close and lock doors around our inner battlements. Openness and vulnerability – that’s the key. I seem to be wanting to start Lent and little early.