The Heart of the Matter
It's really all about Heavy Petting.
(Now that ought to land some great searches!)
Who would not rather choose to have their own back rubbed or scratched than to perform such on another? Why does time move so slowly when I rub my wife's back, and yet so quickly when she does the same for me? Herein lies the heart of the matter.
The externals, as noted in the previous post (and by the way, that post has garnered a good deal of responses both here and offline and for that I am thankful), are more symptomatic than the actual root cause of the disease from which we suffer. They are manifestations of the heart which is in dire need of purification and healing. While removing the opportunity (as an example we might say that we can cleanse an alcoholic's home of all alcohol) is prudent, it is NOT a cure.
When my children get sick, they very often quickly develop a fever and if that fever remains too long or burns too fiercely we will take efforts to reduce or eliminate it. Of course, if it goes away this in no way implies that the child is cured....sadly the infection remains and the fever may spike again.
The infection - in my case - is my need to be petted. To lounge about lazily and be fed, caressed, cared for, massaged, back rubbed, hair combed, fleas picked off...ahem...to be an end unto myself. I want comfort, I want pleasure, I want relaxation. I do not wish to be bothered by responsibility, work, giving or self-sacrifice. When I get home I want to be able to sit down and play a rousing game of Rise of Nations and perhaps eat a few dozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Maybe I can talk my kids into rubbing my feet while my wife dutifully cooks a glorious meal (damn the fast, full meal deal ahead!). I want to do, what I want to do. This is the Ancestral Sin, no?
As I look into the sins of my life, they all clearly revolve around this need to be served and pleased. A poignant example being when I get particularly angry at my kids. Usually this happens because they are in some way interrupting my service or pleasure. And let's face it, children do exactly this to the largest degree imaginable by their very existence! Thank God for them....truly they are my salvation!
What am I learning here? What is the Church teaching me?
We cannot overly focus on damage control and ignore the real battle that is raging around and within us, which is of course the cause of the damage to begin with! Funneling all of our efforts into repair while we continue to be pounded by the enemy will afford us no gains...no victory. We must enage both...with the understanding that by winning the battle we will eliminate all need for damage control.
How do we fight this battle? Prayer, prayer, prayer...of course. But also by enveloping ourselves into the life of the Church and engaging her on her terms. Like checking into a hospital and submitting to the treatment we are to receive there. In reading just a few pages from the likes of St. John of the Ladder we see enough to recognize the strong medicine maintained by the traditions of our church.
Again, it does no good to treat symptom after symptom and never engage the real disease. In the end we need to learn that real joy is not in being served and pleased, but rather in serving and pleasing.
Time to check into the hospital.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 9:06 AM [+]