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998. New Religion

The Hand of God

“I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me.”  Psalm 131:1 

Faith or reason?  Reason or faith?

This prompt (No. 998) asks me to invent a new religion that combines all of my philosophies and beliefs.  “What is it called, how does it work, and who follows you into it?”

Would it be lazy for me to call it the Catholic Church and leave it at that?  Or the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church?  I don’t think so.  And as I delve deeper and deeper into my Faith, I am drawn inexorably to the following two conclusions (among others):

  1. Christ has blessed me, individually, and humanity, collectively, with a beautiful, mysterious and profoundly simple Church; and
  2. While it is a uniquely rewarding endeavor to plumb the depths of Faith, the endeavor to create a religion that is truer to my philosophies and beliefs truly is “above my paygrade.
I admit that I am in love with the Church.  Not just the Church as I understand it, because frequently I find myself confronted with one of my preconceived notions that I must try to reconcile with Church teachings.  This often requires a touch of humility and a pinch of surrender on my part.  But I have found freedom in recognizing the teaching authority of the Church.
Part of this recognition requires a humble acknowledgment that my mind is feeble, but also trust in the Spirit’s movement within those anointed to lead His people.
And when I say “feeble”, it isn’t meant to be self-loathing or even self-deprecating.  There is strength in recognizing my shortcomings.  I am touched by the Michelangelo painting “Creation of Adam“, particularly the depiction of the hands (inset).   Notice how God’s hand is stretching out, actively seeking contact, while Adam’s hand is weakly extended, almost nonchalantly, as if he either can’t, or doesn’t care to, make the effort.  What solace there is in the realization that God will make up the distance, that He actively seeks contact WITH ME!
And it reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son.  This is familiar to many, the story of the younger son who takes his inheritance–early, while his father still lives–and squanders it on a life of excesses.  The son, now desperate for food, returns.  What catches in my throat is the father’s reaction:  “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”  The son had rehearsed a nice speech, but the father had no need for apologies or long-winded explanations.  He RAN to him! WOW!
I guess all this rambling is a long-winded way for me to say that I would rather not invent a new religion.  I find all my philosophies and beliefs are either satisfied or dispelled in the Church.  I understand that this sounds inconsistent with, or an evasion of, the original prompt.  Maybe.  But as I grow in my faith, my growth has resulted in a sense to a reversion to a child-like dependence.  A cornerstone of my philosophies and beliefs is this sense of surrender.
I am comforted by Psalm 46: 10:
Be still and acknowledge that I am God, supreme over nations, supreme over the world.
I am NOT god.  And I don’t have to be.  God is God.  And He gave me the Church.
Now, who follows me into the Church?  My prayer is that everyone eventually finds unity with Christ in His Church.

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