Saturday, October 29, 2011

The politics of evangelization.


Kind of.
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I'm still reading the index of The Duty of Delight.  It reads like a who's who in my early spiritual life - I know exactly what and who Dorothy Day is talking about - and I'm just a 29 year old kid!  (That's a lie!)
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I returned to the Church/sacraments in - a long time ago now - and when I did I had to hide mt piety and pretend I was more with it politically/spiritually than I was.  Isn't that hypocrisy?  No.  It was survival and guarding my soul - especially when I had to try and convince psycho-therapist-confessors that what I was confessing was indeed mortal sin, or that if I embraced my disordered affections - which I couldn't do - I couldn't receive the sacraments and I'd no longer be able to be Catholic.  I've gone through years and years of that crap, so don't cry to me. 
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Just as at home, I had to learn to keep my piety hidden, and just sneak off to some church which still had adoration, or hide the fact that I prayed the rosary.  In fact I developed a way of praying the rosary without the beads ever being seen.  I of course loved the Bible and so I kind of fit in with the Charismatics.  The social activists - not so much.  Though because of my attraction to the Little Brothers of Jesus, socially active types were able to understand my attraction to the contemplative life amongst the poor... "I'll just 'be' poor and live amongst the poor - and pray."  I told them, some understood.  To non-religious friends it didn't much matter, so I actually found more tolerance amongst them than I did amongst "The Wanderer" types from St. Agnes, or the Catholic Charities types from the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul, or even the Charismatics or the Blue Army.  I never quite fit the mold.
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Back on topic - is there one? 
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The Diaries reminded me of the days shortly after my conversion when I was seeking religious life.  After leaving the Carmelite Fathers I decided I wanted to investigate the Little Brothers of Jesus since I so admired the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld.  The Brothers had a house in Detroit.  What a culture shock.  They were poor alright, and lived in what I considered a ghetto, and the life was tough.  I think one or two of the brothers had jobs in factories, another was visiting from the Amazon, he slept in a hammock in the basement.  Conversation was always socio-economic-political.  The brothers went to neighborhood meetings and defended their neighbors rights.  They had their time for prayer and adoration, and daily Mass of course.  They used Tastee Bread - white sandwich bread.  I know.  Don't start - I have been through so much make-shift Masses and sacraments and religious rites it would make your head swim.
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The great amongst the weak.
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Anyway - one day I was helping one of the brothers in the yard.  By then I knew theirs was not even close to what I felt called to and I thought they were a bunch of communists - that was before I knew anything about liberation theology BTW.  So brother was cleaning up the alley and getting ready to make a garden.  Brother had what seemed to me a bit of attitude.  I was trying to be nice and helping clean up and I said something dumb - meant to be funny - "So we'll be the prettiest house on the block when we're done, won't we Little Brother?"
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Brother just looked at me - and I laughed and said, "Just kidding - but since you guys are so active at the city council meetings for neighborhood improvement, I really did kind of think you were fixing the place up as an example."  Again he just stared at me.
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After a long pause, I muttered, quite audibly, "Oh f--- you, I was just trying to be friendly and make some conversation."
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As I walked away, he said, "No - no!  I'm sorry.  I was just trying to process what you were saying." 
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"I'll be heading back home this afternoon."  I answered.
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So you see, once again, I didn't fit in. 
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The Little Brother was exulted in his humility, and I went away confused and empty.
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I trust in God's mercy.
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Photo:  Tomb of Bl. Charles de Foucauld, Algiers

4 comments:

  1. Terry - excellent post - I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your posts. God bless you my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do, for real. You only get comments I've found, however, when there is something nasty to be said.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Thom. For Halloween I just opened the Anonymous option. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I will wait for the specters and goblins to emerge.

    ReplyDelete


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