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Mr. Fixit

Journal of a Departed Friend, Part 2

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Sister Alma Rose recently received part of a journal from the year 1985 that was bequeathed to her by an old friend. Here is an excerpt:

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Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. — Matthew 7:7

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland

I wonder how many souls Christianity has lost because Jimmy asked God for a pony or a trip to Disneyland. There are surely many disillusioned Jimmies walking around, convinced that those biblical promises are all a crock. Maybe it wasn’t a pony that was asked for, but a healing or a job, which, when they don’t materialize, make cynics of would-be believers. 

The conventional wisdom is that God answers prayers but not always at the expected time or in the desired way, and that Jimmy eventually gets something better than a pony.

 

I don’t know, frankly, why some prayers seem to “succeed” where others “fail.” There is the skeptic’s view: that whatever happened would have happened anyway. And there is the pious view: that the “successful” prayer was offered in humility and faith.

The Raising of Lazarus (15th-century painting)

The Raising of Lazarus (15th-century painting)

 

And there is my view: that if I knew how to push God’s buttons, I’d have a good shot at divinity myself, and I don’t want that much responsibility. It’s as much as I can handle to keep up with the phone bill.

‘Shining Like the Sun’

Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

When a prayer is answered in a dramatic way, as in a spectacular healing or an impossible rescue, some believe that God has intervened in the natural order of things, and this is called a Miracle.

Well, I have seen miracles that are supremely “natural.” I won’t go into the  stunning (if somewhat gory) spectacle of childbirth, or snowflakes, or aurora borealis, except to say that the commonplace and the miraculous are not always mutually exclusive. Prayer and meditation offer visions of what is truly “natural,” not in the sense of being normal but in the sense of being true to nature. 

 

Meditation is a journey from the periphery to the center of life, and no one can say what all is to be found there. The late Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and the author of Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1956), writes, “There is no way of telling people that they are walking around shining like the sun.”

One’s view of what is real is limited to what one perceives, but allow that those perceptions are incomplete and distorted, and there is room in the “natural world” for unimagined possibilities.

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Spirit, carry my meditation beyond all things seen and all things imagined into all things possible.

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The Ancients, Part 1 — Daddy Pete

 

 

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