Sunday, December 10, 2006

...after all, he was rather monkish

Why does the practice of an "interior life" seem to be, historically, an essential one to becoming a different kind of person? Because certainly I need to become different if I'm going to live in the other kingdom, the one that's not of this world. So why did St. John Chrysostom nearly conclude that it was impossible to be saved unless you went into the desert? Thomas Merton:

Although it is true that perfection consists in imitating Christ and reproducing Him in our own lives, it will not take us very far on the way to perfection merely to imitate the Christ that we have in our imaginations... Therefore if you want to have in your heart the affections and dispositions that were those of Christ on earth, consult not your own imagination but faith. Enter into darkness of interior renunciation, strip your soul of images, and let Christ form Himself in you by His cross.

There is a bumper sticker that proclaims "Jesus was a liberal." The temptation to make Christ in our own image is strong. The liner notes to Jethro Tull's Aqualung put it admirably:

1: In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he him.
2: And Man gave unto God a multitude of names, that he might be Lord over all the earth when it was suited to Man.
3: And on the seven millionth day Man rested and did lean heavily on his God and saw that it was good.
4: And Man formed Aqualung of the dust of the ground, and a host of others likened unto his kind.
5: And these lesser men Man did cast into the void. And some were burned; and some were put apart from their kind.
6: And Man became the God that he had created and with his miracles did rule over all the earth.
7: But as all these things did come to pass, the Spirit that did cause man to create his God lived on within all men: even within Aqualung.
8: And man saw it not.
9: But for Christ's sake he better start looking.

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