Thursday, July 30, 2015

What do you want?

Thoughts on quotes from "Finding God in All Things," an episode on "On Being."
James Martin: I turned on the TV and saw a documentary about Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, who I'd never heard of.
    And, the documentary was so compelling that it prompted me to go out and read his book, The Seven Storey Mountain, which, to coin a phrase, changed my life.
Krista Tippet and James Martin (I feel like I need to call Krista Tippet "Krista" but it feels kind of strange to call James Martin "James." Is it because he's a priest? A man? Or just because I feel like I know Krista and have heard so many people on the show call her Krista, and I don't feel that way about James Martin?) talk quite a while about Thomas Merton. Have you ever heard of Thomas Mertin? His name sounded familiar to me, but I did not know anything about him until hearing this podcast. I'm thinking I'll read No Man is an Island. They quote this from that book:
“Why do we spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be? If only we knew what we wanted. Why do we waste our time doing things which, if we only stopped to think about them, are just the opposite of what we were made for?”
Fr. Martin goes on to say, "And, you know, Jesus asks people that. What do you want? Kind of understanding your desires."

What is your answer to "What do you want?" Myself, I'm not sure. I should know what I want, right?

I have some thoughts on it. I want to be an image of God. I want to reflect his love in everything I do. I want to live a life so that, when I meet God, he can say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Is that enough? Is that the whole answer?

Those thoughts seem like some answers to the question, What do I want to be? How about, What do I want to DO? Then I start thinking about my job. But there's a lot more I do than my job. What things do I do in order to reflect God's love?

Fr. Martin says Jesus asks, "What do you want?" My first thought as to when Jesus asks that is when he performs miracles. He asks some version of what each person wants, and their answer is some kind of cure - to walk, to see, to be rid of this disease I've had for years, for you to bring my brother/child back to life, and so on. What if Jesus asked me, "Mavis, what do you want?" What if he asked you?

Back to beginning of blog series.


Compare and Despair

Thoughts on quotes from "Finding God in All Things," an episode on "On Being."

"Compare and despair." Isn't that pithy and wise? (I just looked up the definition of "pithy" -- I wasn't sure if "pithy and wise" would be redundant. I think it's okay.)

I often remind myself, and sometimes others, that it is not helpful to compare yourself to anyone else. If you compare yourself to someone who you think is better than you in some way, all it does is feed the negative self-talk you already struggle to repress. If you compare yourself to someone who you think is lesser than you in some way, you're just giving in to pride. When I do it, it feels like I'm sinning -- God sees inside us, and none of us is better than the other; who am I to think I am?

But of course, I compare all the time. I like the saying, though, and I'm going to try to remember it and use it. Compare and despair. What do you think?

Back to beginning of blog series.

Finding God in All Things

I decided to try blogging about the podcast I heard on "On Being" with James Martin. When I first listened to it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I saved it to my phone and have "re-listened" to it several times. Today when I listened again, I realized how much I'd forgotten, and that's when I thought I'd try writing about it.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast. (Or read the transcript - available on the page linked above.) Maybe you'll gain as much insight as I did. It's blessed my inner life.

I was barely aware of Jesuits before hearing this podcast and I still barely know anything about them. But I found James Martin not only inspiring but funny and wise and easy to listen to.

I've read a few books by James Martin as well, and highly recommend them, too. Years ago, I read My Life With the Saints. I wrote about it in my other blog. I didn't realize until later, after hearing the podcast, that the author of that book and James Martin were the same person.

After hearing the podcast, I read The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life. I realize now that I didn't write about this one. I'll try to go back and do that. Actually I'll try to re-read it and then write about it. It's a wonderful book that also gives lots of insight. One thing this book inspired me to do was to reduce my possessions. I have lots more to go on that project, but I did greatly reduce my clothing and I started reducing my books.

Anyway, here goes.
  1. Compare and Despair
  2. What do you want?
  3. Your deepest desires
  4. Where Jesus was a good boy and did what his mom told him to
  5. She's really religious
  6. My friend