"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I wonder as I wander...

Sorry for the three-day hiatus, dear readers. Perhaps the explanation will be of general interest.

After my last post I drove to DC to see some friends in Communion and Liberation as well as my brother, who lives not far away in Maryland. I attended a marvelous, family-oriented New-Year's-Eve party at the boys' school run and largely attended by CL folk, and had a good talk with my sibling the following morning. I returned the night of New Years' Day with a rip-roaring cold, and of course had to work a 12-hour day starting at 6:30 the following morning. (Since, as a wage slave, I only get paid when I work, I had little choice.) Of course I was destroyed by last night, but managed anyhow to poke into a CL "School of Community" conference call coordinated by my DC hostess. Immediately afterwards, I got a call from my landlord informing me that the month-to-month lease under which my roommate and I live here will end by the end of the month. Knowing I have to move yet again, I took a strong dose of NyQuil, went to bed, and stayed there until now.

On my enforced day off, I wonder and ask the Lord how this latest housing problem will constitute an opportunity. While paying child support, I cannot save enough to come up with a deposit for an apartment in addition to the rent, both of which are always required up front. This is why I have not had a stable housing situation since moving to Charlotte last August. And that in turn is why I have found it impossible to do serious, peer-reviewable, publishable academic work, which I have long realized is necessary if I am to return to academia. It seems quite a dilemma and leaves me quite frustrated—if I let it.

But the Holy Spirit often has a way of making us think outside the box. The CL people in particular give me a sense of "possibilities," to use a pregnant phrase of Star Trek's Mr. Spock. In them I truly experience Christ in his Mystical Body, which I generally do not in the usual parish settings. They are far more caring, and eager to support each other, than I had realized. There's a guy in prison here in North Carolina who is visited regularly by them and has converted, sincerely, because of them. A good number of them seem to work either professionally or as volunteers in religious education, which I once did and wouldn't mind doing again. As a community they are, I believe, what the pre-Constantinian Church was. And I have seen "liberation" in them from much of what oppresses even privileged people in the developed countries today. I thank them for what they are to me.

There are other good people here in Charlotte, including my boss, but especially the folk gathered round the Benedictines at Belmont Abbey. I generally worship there on Sunday and, from the top down, they have encouraged me to get more involved there, possibly even in an employed capacity. I know I am not alone, that I am in Christ, who urges us not to be worry and be cast down by the anxieties of this world.

As the new year begins, I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people online who have helped me in various ways: with financial help to rebuild my computer last summer; with encouragement in my struggles; with dialogue and even debate that keep my intellect sharp at a time when it could be clouded; and with recommendations that have enabled me to get a few little things published. You too are a community to me. I pray daily for all the communities in my life. We can "do all things in Christ who strengthens" us.

In keeping with the general tone of prophecy today, I believe the world is approaching a time of great tribulation, which God envisions as a purification. Perhaps my own struggles are meant to help to prepare me for that. All who struggle, and even those lucky enough not to be struggling right now, might want to consider that possibility.
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