Yesterday I started a course at a local Catholic Parish, (not my home parish), called Alpha, click here to view the site and learn more about the program. Now Alpha is a nondenominational exploration of Jesus Christ the man, teacher, and Saviour.
I have been through many courses on Christology, Scripture, Dogma, as a spiritual director so I am not sure what to make of this course. I was invited to come by friends of mine at this other parish, and I was very excited to go. It is one of my Lenten promises to become more involved with my community. As some of you may remember I spent quite a bit of time gathering little chicks under my wing to keep them from the trauma drama that going on in our home. I stopped all contact with the outside world: no woman’s group, prayer group, going out with friends. I did what I had to do, but when I was home, I was home.
When this course was suggested I thought why not and went. Ah but God does enjoy pushing me out of my comfort zone and He surely did that last night.
As with most of these parish group courses you watch a video and then go back to a discussion group and discuss the video. And like these parish discussion group there is a wide range of spirituality; and that is where God really pushed me and pushed me hard.
In our group there people who are very pessimistic. They can not see the beauty of God, or feel God’s presence, His work within the world. There was one woman who wished/prayed that God would send the flood again to destroy the earth….really, really. If we are praying and wishing such things are we not disobeying our baptismal vows of working WITH the mission of Christ in bringing hope to the hopeless, freedom for the oppressed. Am I wrong in saying that we MUST be the change we want in the world?
These things trigger me and it is something I must learn to control. It brings me right back to living with my mom and dealing with other family members whose first response to anything was worry and not just fear of the future, but sheer panic! Panic that was so crippling that it affected the whole family; causing my father to be so angry, to terrify the children and to making the atmosphere of the home heavy, dark and hopeless.
Its that hopelessness that is so soul sucking! Why would you want to do anything, believe in God, work for change when your whole life view is life sucks then you die! That very world view is what I contend is the work of the devil. So, am I saying that these women in my discussion group are the devil, no. What I believe God is saying to me is be patient, not everyone is in the same place, and some are seeing God through lens coloured by lives filled with pain; as I well know from my own experience.
So, was/am I being the devil? In many important ways yes I was/am. If I can not let people journey as they must to find God then I am blocking them from lessons and opportunities that God has planned for THEM. He isn’t asking me for help with HIS job! And while I may have come to know that life is filled with miracles even in the most difficult of times, others may not see it that way and to deny them their personal experience of God is sinful on my end; it is my trying to control them and control their relationship with God, and that is sin of arrogance and pride.
Next week when I go into my small group I will confess my sins and ask for their forgiveness.