"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Re-runs and flash-backs.

I watched Easy Rider for the very first time last week.

I never ever wanted to see the film when it was released.  In fact - I didn't watch it through when it was on TV a night or two ago.  I just clicked back to it from time to time to check on the development. 

I wondered if the film would have freaked me out back then?  I imagined myself better than that - back then.  Shots in New Orleans kind of reminded me of Andy Warhol's trash - which I said I liked at the time.  Warhol created his work around the same time as Easy Rider

The film reminded me of experiences I had with my friends.

It was an awful time, in retrospect.  I don't like revisiting it.  I never thought of God back then.  I said I didn't believe, that I was an atheist.  I couldn't have been - I wasn't smart enough - it was simply a façade.

I can now understand - to an extent - why red-neck-religious types 'hate' hippies.  It doesn't say much for their religion, but says a lot about their fears and prejudices, their anger. 

Oddly enough - nearly everyone is pretty decadent these days, or tainted to some extent.  What does John of the Cross say?  Rarely has anyone avoided drinking from the cup of the whore of Babylon.  Just read blogs.  The f-word is used even by the holy ones.

Easy Rider is creepy, though it be an important piece of cultural documentation.

It's amazing how grace entered into the lives of so many souls who were thought lost in drugs and the culture of the time.  How Christ rose victorious in the lives of the living dead.

It is a source of hope - even for the zombies and the lovers of such in our day, don't you think?

"Let your sin be present to you always and, according to the Wise Man's advice, do not be without fear even for sin that has been forgiven.  God's judgments are uncertain and hidden; they are not rashly to be presumed upon..." - Blessed Guerric of Igny


  1. "It's amazing how grace entered into the lives of so many souls who were thought lost in drugs and the culture of the time. How Christ rose victorious in the lives of the living dead."

    And thus it is that I was called forth from the land of the living dead...for the longest time, I lived in the dark and deep trenches of depression and self loathing. I did things to compensate my ugliness yet, despite what I thought I knew about myself, my darkness was not enough to keep Christ from grasping my hand and pulling me out of the grave I had been living in.

    Yes, my sin is ever before me and I am always stumbling but I see him clearly on the road, and he is always before me extending his hand.

    Ever so gentle.
    Ever so merciful.
    Always with a gentle smile.
    A look of love.

    You told me not to get discouraged once. I say now the same thing to you. Stay strong, remain hopeful, and do not take your eyes off of Jesus.
    No one else will suffice...you know this already.
    I appreciate your blog for the honesty and the charity which with you share your walk and allow us to do the same.

    God bless you forever!

  2. Not to quarrel with Blessed Guerric, but I find that the day's sins are enough to reflect upon. Of course I occasionally reflect upon my Easy Rider decades, but my cold heart and apathy are enough to keep me sober.

  3. One of the problems I have is recalling my past sins and wallowing in discouragement & lack of hope of God's really having forgiven me -- especially when I consider the myriad sinful attachments I *still* have.

    My spiritual director told me that the Evil One and his minions are the ones that place those dark thoughts in my mind; forcing me to recall the past sins committed, placing me back in those times in my mind, **accusing me** repeatedly with the very hope of my failing to believe in Jesus' love for and forgiveness of me.

    After receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation this past Wednesday, and my SD's explicitly mentioning that all past sins are forgiven, I felt truly that grace could begin working in my soul. This morning before Mass, as I stared at the Tabernacle ... trying to rouse appropriate sentiments of adoration and praise before repenting of any known & unknown sins, here came the thoughts once again. "Yes, God has forgiven me, but why do I persist in ____ ? Yes He's merciful but also just. Oh dear Lord, what punishment awaits me?"

    I tried to shake it off and pray the prayer of the tax collector, but along comes Blessed Guerric. How can I trust in the merciful God and HAVE JOY IN MY FAITH when I'm incessantly wondering and waiting for my pending punishment -- for the other shoe to drop?

    1. Sounds like you found a great spiritual director. Excellent.

  4. db, that's a trick of the evil one. Once God forgives your sins, you must also forgive them and not dwell on them. He loves you.

  5. I expected someone else to have problems with the Guerric of Igny quote and this post in general.

    Of course your sins are forgiven - erased when forgiven by God. Theologians say God forgets our sins. You don't sit and go over and over them, one by one.

    I'm basing my writing on a different perspective here. It is related to other posts I've written in this vein. It is my experience - not anyone else's. If you don't understand it, it isn't for you, right Nan?

    Using Guerric's quote has more to do with the desert father who told one of the monks it is good to be always repenting. It's like the abba's advice to keep yourself in hell. It is like St. Angela writing about how the Lord made her see all her sins in order to demonstrate how much they offended God, and to understand more acutely his mercy. It is like the psalmist praying for forgiveness for his hidden sins. It is like Zaccheus telling our Lord he wanted to pay back double all those he had cheated - because he understood the great harm his sins caused to others. It is like the Living Flame of Love John of the Cross writes about, the awful purgation of the soul.... the sharp trials of the intellect, the severe dryness of the will... like the sufferings of purgatory. The utter impotence.

    Offering the reminders of these things is a sacrifice, and act of trust and confidence in God - 'even if he should kill me, I will trust'. Therese used the same words there as Job. Joy is not the same as feeling good and skipping down the street - the joy of being forgiven is sometimes felt, sometimes not. The soul needs to quiet itself in prayer... repetitive prayer.

    The Lord is always there however - no pit is so deep that his love is deeper still. Christ scourged, tormented and heckled - sinless though he was - mirrors the anguish these purgative stages effect in us.

    Faith. "One should seek assurance not in understanding but in faith." - John of the Cross

    Listen to your spiritual directors and not me. Don't read me if you are disturbed - let nothing disturb you, as St. Teresa said.

  6. and should be an

    sb 'mirrors the effect of the anguish these purgative stages have on us'.

    I wish Blogger had editing for comments.

  7. I left comments open on this post by mistake I should add.

    Anyway - looking back at the film was like looking back at some of my own experiences - which, believe it or not I could still regard as 'cool' or something fun from the 'good old days' or something funny - like a prom photo.

    The film unsettled me and helped me see how ugly sin is. How completely crazy and miserable doped up drunken people look and act. How filthy the language and behavior was. Time unmasks the deceits of the devil.

    1. Actually, Terry, I think your reaction to the film now says much about your own spiritual growth. People watching this film today may note how dated it is, but they certainly wouldn't see it as disgusting and dirty. Compares to today's standards, it might even seem tame.

      But your own spiritual growth has helped you to see just how ugly sin is. Back then, like all the rest of us, you were immersed in it and therefore could not see it. Bishop Sheen said that it takes the pure of heart to be aware of how the depravity of sin. A pig wallowing in mud has no idea that he is covering himself with filth. Only the clean can understand the filth. I hope that makes sense.

  8. 'The penitent should ever grieve and rejoice at his grief.' - St. Augustine

  9. Catholic in Brooklyn, yes - it makes very much sense. Now that is the joy of being forgiven I think. It makes sense of the post. Thanks very much. Your comment is very consoling.

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  11. bg - thanks for your comment - it is very true.

    However, my post was about something else.


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