The Washington Post tried to make him look as stern as possible — “Pope Warns About Loveless Sex”. Can’t blame them too much because that’s what I expected his first encyclical to be like.
Haven’t read it all yet, but from the summaries it looks like a back-to-basics look at the nature of love and the mission of the Church. It’s said that a Pope’s first encyclical letter is supposed to set the tone for his papacy. Okay.
He’s kind of surprised me. I have to admit that before he became Pope Benedict XVI I didn’t like him that much. Now he has my sincere benefit of the doubt.
I have learned that it’s actually worth buttoning that inside button on the waistband of your trousers.
I have learned that life is way too short to wear cheap shoes.
I am finally learning to allow myself to be hungry. That emptiness can be a good thing.
I am resigning to the fact that I need more sleep than I am getting.
I submit to the tedium of routine exercise — let go of the pipe dream that I will ever get adequate exercise by playing sports alone
I am finally learning to smile at the parts of me I used to fight.
Including that voice inside my head that won’t let me experience silence.
“As long as we are on earth the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another. Because of this, love is the resetting of a body of broken bones
Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish, without some pain at the differences that come between them.”
– Thomas Merton
Every time we engage in “us vs. them” thinking, we do violence to the body of Christ. As surely as Pontias Pilate and the Pharisees did to the eartly body of Christ.
So if we who believe are supposed to be the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ is a “Body of Broken Bones.” As long as we are divided from one another by greed, lust, egotism, wrath, pride, or self-righteousness, this body cannot heal.
Only love that sacrifices the self can heal these broken bones.
And that love is difficult and painful, because it involves the sacrifice, vulnerability, and pain of overcoming our differences and fears. It is like the painful restting of a broken bone.
That kind of love is no namby-pamby feeling. Who feels like being vulnerable, uncomfortable, unsafe for the sake of another? No, this kind of Love is a decision you make in spite of how you feel.
Until last night, when my wife corrected me, I thought today was going to be our nineteenth wedding anniversary. Apparently it’s just our eighteenth anniversary and I’ve been deluded for the past few months. I feel oddly disappointed. It just seems like we’ve lived ninteen years worth of marriage in eighteen, I guess.
With our nets being full to breaking most of the time, it always seems like we have lots of fish wiggling free and flopping around in the bottom of our boat and there’s no time to oil the squeaky oarlock or fix the cracked gunwhale. Heidi and I have this bursting at the seams approach to family that is more expansive than either of us can account for. People ask us how we fit it all in, how we do all we do. We don’t, I don’t believe. The results are greater than the sum of our parts. We don’t know exactly how the fishes and loaves expand to feed everybody, all we can do is just stare at the leftover baskets in wonderment every once in a while and give thanks.
Today is one of those staring in wonderment days. Happy
ninteenth eighteenth anniversary baby!