Life is beautiful, but a person of my sort must turn aside from the idolatry occasioned by viewing the world’s filigreed decay with too aching a heart.
Life is surprising, but a person of my sort must bend her attention to the hope occasioned by surprise, and her back on the terror of personal futility that could just as easily arise.
Life is pointless on most levels and a person of my sort, who knows this, must turn inward with determination, in order to find the level of being at which life is simple and to the point.
The point of this life is to end. This is the simple fact of the matter. The honest person cannot hide from it.
Yet there are two possible meanings to the statement, that the point of this life is to end. One views it with simple despair. One with simple hope.
Oh, I suppose that there’s a third way, which simply complicates the whole thing until the end is comfortably obscured. But I am one sort of person and not that.
Despair is simple because it drowns everything and converts the world of the human mind to a single raging sea.
Hope is simple because it is a corridor that squeezes you and denies you all possibilities except the next lamp-lit step.
Hope is the mask of God, the movement of the Blessed Heavenly King within a person who does not yet know Him.
Hope says, ‘go this way and you will find the rest that you seek.’ Hope ensures that you will not be lost. Hope is the upward and outward surge of the part of your soul that moves, that part that is moved and moves you in return. It surges out and you feel that if you are being drawn there is something drawing you.
That knowledge of Something – something besides oneself – is all the hope a person needs to avoid existential despair for a time.
What should a person of my sort do with the knowledge that the point of life is to end?
What, but embrace the end?
There is an evil embracing of death, that loves death for its nature, that decks itself and its surroundings with symbols and outward representations of death. This passion is demonic. I will not speak of it.
But there is an embracing of the end of life that laughs at death.
Death is defeated and the length of Christian history attests to this fact.
Death has been converted to a sweeper-up of human follies, a slave to those it once tyrannized over. Death is the shedding of what burns and what rots.
We can do this little by little throughout our life, or we can have it all at the end.
Little by little is easier and safer.
The tool in this process, that makes it willful and voluntary and gives us dignity, is Obedience.
Obedience keeps us from ridiculous pretensions among the Tall Ones.
Obedience is our answer to Hope, standing in the corridor and putting forward our foot.
Obedience does away with confusion.
I will assert that such obedience is incomplete without a Spiritual Father, someone who partakes of God’s fatherhood, of God’s priesthood. If one has simple faith in God, such a father in the Lord will truly stand in God’s place until he become transparent, and one kisses God by kissing his hand, and obeys God by obeying him – and hears from God by listening to him.
In short, the seeming subversion of the Christian faith is just as radical and potent as it ever was if one embraces it with the total attachment our fathers weilded. Of course, one enters and finds that what is being subverted was a subversion of Nature in the first place. But at first it seems that you are being asked to go upside down in order to be put right-side-up.
Obedience gains you honor; death gains you life. Such paradoxes, when stated in words, can seem almost platitudinal. These will not inspire. Grace is passed from person to person. Someone will have to try this way of life, someone in my time and in my place.