Tuesday, February 11, 2014
FR. PAT McNULTY'S I LIVE NOW, NOT I:
A couple of months ago, I received a little book: I Live Now, Not I, It's by Fr. Patrick McNulty who was born in 1931 and has lived for many years as a full-time member of Madonna House.
Fr. McNulty quotes Gerald Vann, O.P., [from The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God]: "Pride will never learn what Christianity means until it has gone down into the darkness, until it is left naked and helpless and without resources and so is thrown back into the arms of God...If we were wise we could learn this for ourselves. But we are stupid; and sometimes God has to force it on our attention..."
Fr. McNulty learned this in what I gather was middle age. He'd lived through the "revolution" of the sixties and seventies, he'd been a priest for many years, he'd had a full, rich--or rich enough--life.
And then he hit a wall.
So Fr. McNulty went to the Sinai Desert and repaired to a cave.
"I don't know what I expected to find out there in the Sinai desert in a mountain-cave miles from any other human being, and if at first I was deluded into thinking 'the Lord called me' for great and holy things, that delusion was defunct in less than 48 hours. By then the first wave of terror had swept over me to remind me that here I was in a place where I had no defences at all. I suddenly realized that it was not only my soul I could lose out here but I could also lose my mind as well. Then what?"
Now that is the metaphorical desert of the alcoholic who, after untold, indescribable suffering, has finally realized that he has NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER against the first drink. And once he has the first drink, all bets are off. The craving kicks in for more, and more, and more, and it's anybody's guess when, or if, he'll stop at anything short of jail, the nuthouse, or the grave.
"A wave of terror swept over me to remind that here I was in a place where I had no defences at all."
That's actually the place of every human being against the powers of darkness; it's just that not every human being has the courage, and/or is more or less forced by circumstance, to face it.
"I suddenly realized that it was not only my soul I could lose out here but I could also lose my mind as well. Then what?"
Read the book and find out!