Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
First, my thanks to Annie for “guest-twitching” the last two weeks. I thought both of her reflections were really good and if you didn’t read them you can go online to the parish website and catch up. < > (If you don’t put “fl” in the address you’ll get St. Sebastian in Akron, Ohio, a wonderful parish if judging by their website means anything.)

Last Sunday, I quoted Jeanne-Marie Guyon, a 17th century French mystic. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying, a mystic is someone who develops a very focused way of living which recognizes a basic truth about human nature. As the Catholic Encyclopedia says, “There is in our soul a capacity for more truth and perfection than we can ever acquire through the knowledge of created things. We realize that God alone is the end of man, that in the possession of God alone we can reach the satisfaction of our aspirations.”

My quote from Jeanne-Marie was, “Through being given rule and method how to love God, people have in great measure been estranged from God. How unnecessary is it to teach an art of loving! The language of love, though natural to the lover, is nonsense and barbarism to one who does not love. The best way to learn the love of God is to love God.

You remember that old witticism, “How do I know what I think until I hear what I have said?” Well, all week long, taking advantage of some laying -low time to heal a little, those words followed me around wherever I was. “The best way to learn the love of God is to love God.” The simplicity of it is overwhelming. In our ‘everything-has-to-have-a manual-of-operation age,’ I simply tried pausing, listening, waiting, finally saying, “I love you, Lord.” Clearing the decks, so to speak, let little sparks of light break through. Those sparks were God’s love breaking through.
How did I know that? Jesse Jackson was the first person I heard who once remarked, “we analyze until we paralyze.” I’m trying very hard not to do that here. But returning to the quote, Jeanne-Marie said the language of love is nonsense and barbarism - i.e. foreign – to one who does not love.

If I’m not loving each day, does it mean my life is somehow marked with nonsense and barbarism? Well, there are moments when I have the sense that Attila the Hun, the master barbarian, is just around the corner. But I know love is not nonsense. The trick is to let your heart experience what your head knows to be true.

I have had too many examples of love in my life from people who were anything but nonsensical. And there it is! All those ways, all those people God was using to let me know of his love. Loving them back was - IS – letting God love. That happens when I can look at someone as God’s creation in action. Sometimes that creation can hide God by forgetting who made it, him, her. Those are the times when I must look beyond what I see and know God’s original intent, no matter how dumb someone may be acting.

As I’m winding up this Twitch, two of the three four-footed denizens of the office are barking at a guest, and I want to go out and bop them one. Then I look at what I just wrote and find myself laughing and remembering all the endless affection and tail-wagging that goes on. Of course, one of them doesn’t have a tail, but I know he would be wagging if he could. Maybe when all is said and done, that’s the lesson: the best way to know the ‘love’ of a dog is to love that dog. I put love in quotation marks because it is but an example of human love which is something I choose to do, to use, even when it comes naturally. Otherwise it rusts.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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