journal / Uncategorized

a moveable feast

“secura mens quasi iuge convivium est” — The secure mind is like a perpetual feast!

“6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you arestrong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.” (1 Corinthians 4:6-13)

Do not think negatively; do not think positively; think thoughts after God. I’m serious. Positive thoughts cloud the sin in things. It undermines the allowance of evil and allows ample space for the definition of “good” and “positive” to get comfortable and lax in their meaning. But thinking thoughts after the Lord! That brings understanding. Positivity may last for the night, but terror comes in the morning. The mind that seeks God grows toward seeing good and evil for what they really are; the mind that seeks wisdom does not look inside himself for answers. He knows that deep caves wear in his mind where he has dug for water, for wealth, for friendship or a wife or a family. He knows that in the given time and circumstance, there may not be an answer. Nevertheless, his mind is secure because he immerses his ways and his old mores in the wisdom of the Lord. He may suffer and bleed and stand bare before the world and men, disgraced, asking for more; he may teach his children and have a steady, simple life to the end of his days, enriched. In either case, he is the Lord’s and he has everything he needs.

The secure mind does not belong solely to bodies of light and prosperity. The Lord gives; the Lord takes away. Some modern Catholic writers know this well, namely O’Connor and Percy. The secure mind belongs to the poor in spirit, the meek, the mourners, those starving for righteousness, the merciful, the lame, the disfigured, the depressive, the lonely. Not necessarily the ones who have been given good things and happy manners. The right job, the house with the marble floors, the kind children, the nice tidy community of fellow Christians who drink good wine when they are together. These are all good things, but of course we all know that they can be taken away in a flash of lightning. We have all heard the thunder.

These are no indication of righteousness, of God’s benediction. Christians (myself included) need to stop thinking this lest we get caught in the feedback loop of healthwealthprosperity. It makes a positive mess to posture yourself like this, hands outstretched to the world, waiting to be given stuff because you are a child of God. You have become co-heirs with Christ, yes? What was Christ given?

God is endless, and his wisdom like honey and bread and wine and fruit and meat, and He has only revealed so much to us. Let us feed at the moveable feast of God’s wisdom, found in the souls and homes of everyone who calls upon the name of Christ, who transforms us and cleanses us and secures us by His blood. This is everything we need for life and godliness.

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