April 17, 2012

On Being an Unreasonable Person

One of the most dangerous things in community life is the idea that I'm a reasonable person. Of course it is true that salvation, at least in this life, consists in becoming reasonable. The only-begotten Word, the logos of God, who is Reason and Wisdom, became man so that my injured and sick humanity might be renovated in the divine Reasonableness.

As St. Paul says in St. Jerome's translation, being transformed in mind rather than conformed to this age is our rationabile obsequium, our 'rational' service. In Paul's Greek, it is λογικὴν λατρείαν, our 'logical' worship. To become rational, logical people in the logos, is our happiness and freedom and salvation. (Romans 12:2)

But this salvation is a work in process. A brother might have grown from the unreasonableness of his infancy to have become reasonable in some areas; he might be a reasonably good preacher or liturgical presider, or a reasonably good friend or listener or cook or cleaner, but most of us are not yet saints and remain unreasonable and immature in various ways. Often these can be blind spots or eccentricities or family of origin roles of which we are in denial or don't even notice, and this makes it all the easier to notice and get worked up by the annoying craziness of others while simultaneously forgetting how much unreasonableness the rest of the community puts up with from us ourselves.

Of course this is an application of the Lord's advice to notice the wooden beams in our own eyes before we are solicitous to remove the speck from the eye of our brother. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all eager to help us make excuses for our own faults and sins, so long as we deny any excuse or benefit of the doubt to others.

When I forget that I too am still an unreasonable person, I remove from myself the protection of remembering how much pointless idiosyncrasy and maladaptive eccentricity I am forgiven on a daily basis, and the world, the flesh, and the devil will have an easier time tricking me into condemning my unreasonable brother or sister.


Michael Martin said...

This posting of yours is wonderfully apposite for me today.

you have got me thinking - thanks!

Michael, (in Brussels today but back home in Somerset UK on Friday)

Anonymous said...

Though I'm far far away from your pastoral zone, in another franciscan parish...your blog has been my spiritual companion since the day I accidentally stumbled on it!

So, wanna say THANK YOU father, for creating this blog and please never stop writing! :D