The Thing About November
I walked in the local wood today near dusk. The leaves are all but gone, only a few of the underbrush shrubs bearing tatters of color. The rest of the world was muted, grays and browns and beiges, the sky leaden.
The woods were silent and strange, not a stir in the brush. The fallen leaves on the path no longer rustle, having been broken by the rain and time, softened. I heard a lone cardinal make its one note winter ‘pip’ sound, but the only other thing I heard was a deer, from the sound of it, far off, crashing through the forest.
It is supposed to snow tonight, and I saw a few flurries.
It occurred to me that the grimness of November makes the whiteness of real winter, pure and clean, so much more beautiful, welcome.
To everything a season, and all that.
Grace does not ‘build on nature’ as the scholastics claim. Nature rises and flowers out of grace.
If I had another daughter I would name her ‘Isis Ebola’. She would probably fit right in with her older brother, Y2K.
Tradition and Idolatry
The so-called traditionalists are sinking deeper into the fever swamp. I have seen essays in various sites proclaiming that Pope Francis is a heretic and the time has come for a schism of the Real Catholics. I myself have been called an idolater on another blog because I really like Francis and see his insistence on the primacy of Love as prophetic, which apparently means he is my substitute for God.
I love Francis for the strange synchronicity of his unlikely pontificate occurring just as I am emerging from a long spiritual crisis which left me with the existential bones of faith: God, Jesus, Love, what Francis calls the encounter with Christ.
Is not blind traditionalism, which absolutizes a relative good, however lovely and satisfying, more akin to idolatry?
Beautiful human constructs – liturgies, icons, all the trappings of worship- are good. Indeed I cannot live long without them. But when attachment to one of them obscures the very heart of the truth that we claim to believe, that God is indeed good and loves us? Or that the ineffable mystery we name as ‘God’ is in fact Love, and we are dear to him, however that may seem hard to believe sometimes? Or that we are all brothers and sisters and that God specially loves the poor and marginalized?
Francis is only recalling us to the primacy of love, with mercy as the center.
Tradition is not static, and neither is love.