Friday, January 25, 2008

A Dynamic God: living an unconventional Catholic faith

With this winter came a need for spiritual sustenance, so a lot of my library checkouts have been based on that desire. This one was an interesting read; the author, who suffers from MS, also wrote the acclaimed Waist-High in the World: a life among the non-disabled. She converted to Catholicism years ago, but has found herself drifting away from the papal religion and into a Catholicism that embraces equality and tolerance.

I found her writing to be very similar to Madeleine L'Engle's journals--a crisp sense of the authors' beliefs, punctuated by carefully selected anecdotes. As with L'Engle's work, I had to tread lightly, skimming several pages before I found a paragraph that really spoke to me. But she writes so beautifully that when you find something moving, it's worth it to write it down; it will be hard to find that same thought captured so well by another author.

p. 89: Although Mother could now admit to anger, it still constituted an unruliness to be mastered, as her next comment made plain: "I've got to get hold of myself, or nobody will like me very much." Socially, anger tends to be viewed as a menace. Just look at the verbs we use with it: 'erupt,' 'explode,' 'blow up,' 'boil over.' Keep a lid on it, we caution, even though, as anyone who's overheated a pressure cooker can attest, the tight lid is exactly what causes the device to spew bits of potato from floor to ceiling. "Don't worry about that," I replied. "We all know what it's like to be angry. Just open up to it, really feel it, and then let it flow on out and away."

p. 132: Smiling. It's very difficult to harbor hatred and fear with the corners of your mouth turned up. Try it. No, not a grimace like that. Soften your facial muscles, curve your lips, squint
your eyes a little. Don't wait until you have something to smile about, because you might have to wait a good long time. Just do it.

No comments: