Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Walking the Walk and Doubting the Doubt

I have one brief thing to say about our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.  His fellow Jesuits in Argentina don't like him.  And that is the best sign we've had yet that this man is holy and devout!  The Jesuits have gone badly off the rails, and the corruption of the best is the worst.  Since the Jesuits were at one time the best of the best, their corruption has produced, in most cases, the worst of the worst.  But maybe that will change.  The young Jesuits in formation show much promise, and now a Jesuit pope might make a difference, the kind of difference most current Jesuits are very much opposed to.



Plus he takes public transportation, loves the poor, and defends marriage.  He walks the walk.  What a blessing he is! 

***

But I wanted to post about something that I've experienced many times, and that I suspect some of my readers go through as well.

And that is "coming down".

After every intense spiritual experience I've had - whether that experience came at a visit to EWTN, a Chesterton Conference, a Theater of the Word tour - I've always had a hard time "coming down".  There is a decompression that you have to go through when leaving the mountain top.  It usually takes several days, and it always seems to involve the following ...

  • Doubting the reality or validity of the experience.

  • Physical exhaustion.

  • Doubting your own integrity.

  • Mild depression or the desire to eat and sleep, or to do anything other than work.

  • Cyncism and foul temper

Remember that when the apostles came down the mountain after the Transfiguration of Our Lord, they came down to His suffering and death - a real "come down" to say the least!

But then there followed the most unexpected experience of all, the world's greatest mountain top vista- Easter Morning.

The Transfigutation prepared Peter, James and John for both - both the passion and the resurrection.  It revealed the truth about Christ, a truth that they were bound to have doubted when He lay dead and bloody in the tomb; a truth they only began to process, to understand, to assimilate - after He rose in a shining and glorified body from that same tomb.

***

If you're "coming down" from anything right now, my biggest advice would be, go ahead and doubt, but doubt the doubt.   Doubt the temptation to doubt - the temptation to judge the great grace you've been given as worthless or illusory.  Doubt the nasty belittling voice in your ear.  Doubt not your own sinfulness (which is always there), but doubt the suggestion that your sinfulness makes the grace you've received worthless. 

Those are all lies you're hearing. 

The mountain top is nearer to God.  His love is greater than we can ever imagine, and we see only reflections of it in our friends, our lovers, our soul mates - in even the most joyful moments here in the valley or there on top.

So don't doubt; or if you must, doubt the doubt. 

And pray for the man who has just been chosen to stay near the mountain and lead us.

7 comments:

Benjamin. said...

I was watching live since before the smoke came out to the announcement. I found out it was streaming and I waited watching it for about 10 minutes, then the smoke came out and everybody got quite excited. (It did look grey at first though.)

At that point I figured I'd need more than just a streaming video, so I went to EWTN for news coverage. Little did I know it would be another hour till those curtains moved. And I was quite frustrated that the anchors said absolutely nothing for what I suppose was 5 minutes after I heard something resembling Frances. I guess everybody else was equally confused for a while.

I was concerned when I heard he was a Jesuit; I had thought it was a fairly corrupt group in general, not speaking out against certain sins. I'm not sure where I got that impression, perhaps some news article I read.
I'm still not sure what the Jesuits really are, I just know they have something to do with Catholicism.

Benjamin. said...

Oh, and his face reminded me of Alec Guinness' Father Brown. Maybe just the glasses, maybe more.

stickman said...

I'm new to the church. Discovered what it was about and joined up in 2009. And I've definitely caught the drift of what Jesuits are about these days, but what in the world happened?!

Any good books on the topic?

Kevin O'Brien said...

What in the world happened, indeed.

The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) was at one time an order of bold Christian men - intellectually and physically vigorous. The North American martyrs alone were examples of the fortitude of these holy men.

Today, as a whole, they retain just enough intellectual vigor to rationalize away any sin or desire they choose. New age nonsense mixes with every heresy under the sun. It seems almost as if the Jesuits take a perverse delight in choosing and exulting things they know are deliberately wrong, and mixing as many anti-christian sentiments into their lives as they can.

However there are a few very good ones. I know of six. Pope Francis appears to be one of the six.

Such is often the story with religious orders, Benjamin. And sometimes orders can degenerate severely, and then be suddenly reformed, usually by a saint that is hated and despised for his or her efforts and persecuted mightily within the order.

It is part of the mystery of iniquity, which is always superseded by the unexpected and undeserved greater mystery of Good.

Chris said...

He does seem to be particularly a propos for the time, when people are trying to create a false division today between social justice Catholicism and doctrinal orthodoxy. It looks like they won't be able to accuse him of ignoring justice issues in favor of doctrine(as they would frame it), but I'm sure they will try.

Joey Higgins said...

I'm a huge opponent of using the phrase, "social justice," because of what it means to non-Catholics and probably some Catholics who don't care or do not understand Church teaching well.

Why can't we just go back to corporal works of mercy, taking care of the poor, or doing good works? If, "Social Justice," can be recaptured from, "the political left," and no longer includes things such as abortion, homosexual marriage, and euthanasia, I will retract my criticism.

Kevin said...

Joey,

The phrase has its origin within Catholicism. We came up with it.

It's about time we took it back.