vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
[personal profile] vaecrius
I come to church after a few days of doubting my progress in my prayer life.

Today's Gospel reading is of the seed parable. Fr. Justin's homily can be summarized in 3 very clear takeaway points, which I list in reverse order:
  • Thorns: Prioritize and keep your rule of prayer.

  • Shallow soil: Fast and learn endurance.

  • Hard ground: Give alms and open yourself up to other persons, expecting no thanks or reward.
I do not recall if it were Fr. Justin's intent to focus on that last one, but it stuck out.

My fencing teacher links to this article and comments that the article is rather disappointing, but the comments from the person he got it from were definitely worth quoting:
Make a difference. Make eye contact, smile...

You don't have to give more than that if you choose not to, or, if you are worried that you are sustaining an addiction or perpetuating a continuous dependance,or,indeed even if you feel like you are being scammed.

People do not need to be reminded that there is a local soup kitchen down the way (they already know) What people need is honesty and a human contact.

Unless you honestly have ten minutes to spare don't ask them how they are.

Instead just give them eye contact, a real smile. Tell them have a great day. And if you do have the time and you do really care,then take the time honestly and spend a few minutes and find a bit out.

If you can afford to and you are inclined buy them something to eat or a hot drink. If you give them your gloves or your hat or your jacket don't be surprised if they don't put them on right away.

And don't be mad later on if you see them and they don't have your things. Give freely and give from the heart but do it honestly, because you care, not because you feel guilty or you want to give yourself a prop.

And try to smile at people whether they are holding signs or whether they happen to be well off.Everyone needs a lift!
It is almost exactly on point with the almsgiving portion of Fr. Justin's homily.

I comment:
Biggest difficulties I find in actually doing this:
  1. Difficulty in continuing the conversation after saying "no", when all you can offer is yourself, and the unbearable egotism of presuming that oneself is worth offering in lieu of money

  2. Fear of rejection in light of the above when really *all* the person wanted at that moment was money

  3. The unbearable awkwardness of attempting at human interaction in the absence of a concrete, quantifiable thing you want to get from them, nor the freedom to berate, insult and generally be flippant about something
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
That night, at fencing class, I learn that they are filming something, and also we are sparring only one pair at a time while everyone watches. I proceed to win 2 of roughly 12 fights, both clearly unilateral mistakes by less experienced and/or aggressive opponents.

Fr. Stephen posts The Invisible Shame. And, perhaps even more poignantly than the post itself, this comment. I am not quoting this, please read it yourself.

...and tonight's dinner table conversation just happens to cover:
  • the most severe berating my mother ever gave me (circa 2004-5, when I was unemployed and sleeping in until 3 in the afternoon)

  • a recent case about a woman in her late 20s who killed her newborn children out of fear of her "traditional" parents and the judge's incredulous response to certain defence submissions during sentencing

  • my father's reticence to tell my mother just what was going on back when he was trying to mortgage his half of the family home (which was then sold and the proceeds split equally shortly after she discovered the truth)

Date: October 22nd, 2014 17:33 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] helarxe
There is a lot in philosophy that can be seen as trickery to occult or dissemble one's self from the, shall we say, scorching sun of objective judgement. Buddhism, for one, always seemed too readily made facile. (Although the Sea of Tranquility books are starting to permit me a more benign view.) A lot of late Shakespeare seems to be about this... actually no, from the start eloquence is the medicine-poison.

I flitted from leaf to leaf as if running away and afraid to commit; now I commit to one and true, which however comes in seasons and ages, never to repeat, under never-failing wing.

Date: October 24th, 2014 15:43 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] helarxe
>If only it were the objective judgment that preoccupied us day and night!

...good point. Best point, even.


Sometimes, when I see how complex and alien and upside down (in the positive Chesterton sense) certain philosophical or theological ethical frameworks are in comparison to the public discourse, I feel a sense of utter untranslateability that makes me wonder how the hell¹ will I ever tell² better from worse at any non-trivial juncture.

¹ Religious sense included.
² Sense of communicating rationales included.

Date: October 24th, 2014 15:51 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] helarxe
I was trying to remember shameful moments worth sharing, but I rapidly concluded you've already witnessed a statistically significant sample in my long career of internet mongery!

Highlight otherwise, stomach knots are always had when I remember calling the police thinking there was an intruder in the house. I was one Second Amendment away from a Pistorius situation.
Edited Date: October 24th, 2014 15:53 (UTC)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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