Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Consolations of Oz

If you have a growing prayer life, spending more time, more love, more attention on the things of the Lord, do you find that your experiences of the presence of God have changed over that time?

When I first met the Lord, as it were, in 1978, I was often in awe at His Creation, transfixed by nature's beauty. I sometimes could be in a crowd of people, and see Him in their hearts, which made them very dear to me. I wasn't much of a pray-er at the time, not really knowing how, not having any good examples around me (nor seeking any, to be honest) and being convinced that it was my job to re-design Catholicism so it fit me (and you know how well that went).

These last few years, I've embraced my identity as a faithful daughter of His Church, and participated in ALL the Sacraments (particularly including Confession). I've stopped picking and choosing. God Bless God, I've been given by His Grace some beautiful gifts in prayer. But I don't have any of the early experiences anymore.

I was pining for some of them recently, and after I shook myself out of it ("Seek not the consolations of God, but the God of consolations," I think St. Teresa of Avila said), I got an idea: remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy opens the door of the crashed house? She is standing in that sepia world and looks out into the beautiful world of Oz, and the colors are deep and vibrant. Viewing that, no matter how many times, gives me happy goose pimples. After she steps out into Oz, she and we marvel at the colors and life around her. But a few minutes later, we don't even notice that she's in color now, we're caught up in the story instead.

That's us, isn't it? Is it too literal to say that we cross a boundary into His Life, and become immersed in it and then can't identify an old life any more?


Justin said...

I'm very much still working my way towards a regular participation in ALL the Sacraments, but the "pining" is in me as well. I've always recognized it as something that C.S. Lewis mentioned in Mere Christianity. I don't remember where or the exact wording, but it was a discussion about our desire for new ideas. He suggested that just as much as we need new, fresh things in our life, that half the time all we need to do is work at remembering what we have/are already. The word "refreshing" comes to mind, which suggests something new but technically doesn't mean something new. REfreshing.

A community of believers, communion of saints, is something that can really spur us onward in this "race". By the sharing of our lives, we remind others, and they remind us. The application of the faith to somebody else's absolutely unique life can be that beautiful world of Oz.

Therese Z said...

RE-freshing. Nice way to rethink that word. Also, consider RE-membering. Becoming again a member of His Church, bringing members back or into the Church.

We have to appreciate and RE-appreciate where He's brought us and share that.

Roz said...

You mentioned about "not picking and choosing". I remember you saying something similar elsewhere, I think in reference to not reinventing how to say the Rosary just to suit yourself.

Well, Therese, it hit my heart. One of the lodging points of pride in my life is "picking and choosing" - tailoring my circumstances, my prayers, anything at all to suit myself instead of giving it lock, stock and barrel to God and being content with what He metes out to me.

Thanks for saying that. God is using it for me. I'd really rather have what he knows will work best for me instead of relying on my own preconceptions.



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