Sunday, March 2, 2014
Every so often I start thinking My God, I am some kind of religious crackpot. I'm a total phony. I've never abandoned myself to God AT ALL. What is with this frenetic daily Mass-going? I'm trying to capture God, possess God, take God off to a little corner. It's a show; it's a distraction; it's an attempt to escape from the messiness of "real life." It's an attempt, one more time, to be special. Who am I kidding?: I don't even like people, hardly. I'm testy, I'm exhausted. I'm like the guy in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov: the more I love humanity, the more I dislike individual people.
Just the night before, though, I'd read these passages from The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris:
"[A]s Soren Kierkegaard reminds us, 'Repetition is reality, and it is the seriousness of life...repetition is the daily bread which satisfies with benediction' "...
"I have come to believe that the true mystics of the quotidian are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self."
"Ironically, it seems that it is by means of seemingly perfunctory daily rituals and routines that we enhance the personal relationships that nourish and sustain us. I read recently, in Martin Marty's newsletter, "Context," of a study that monitored the habits of married couples in order to determine what made for good marriages. The researchers found that only one activity seemed to make a consistent difference, in terms of the ability to maintain a stable, happy, long-lasting relationship, and that was simple affection, the embracing or kissing of one's spouse at the beginning and the end of each workday.
Most significantly, as Paul Bosch, the author of the article reports, 'it didn't seem to matter whether or not in that moment the partners were 'fully engaged' or even sincere! Just a perfunctory peck on the cheek seemed to be enough--enough to make a difference in the quality of the relationship.' Bosch comments...that this "should not surprise churchgoers. Whatever you do repeatedly," he writes, "has the power to shape you, has the power to make you over into a different person--even if you're not totally 'engaged' in every minute!' "
God likes repetition: He invented it. No-one likes repetition more than a kid. A trick, a funny face, a story: "Do it again!"
"Suffer the little children to come unto me, and do not prevent them; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."