Feast of St. Matthew at Mississippi Abbey

There is a right-handed and a left-handed way to worship God; to relate to Him and make Him the measure of your life.

The right-handed way is conventional: you go to Mass, say daily prayers, make choices in line with His way of life.

Then there is the left-handed way. It’s like a left-handed compliment. A left-handed compliment is an insult disguised as a compliment. For instance, you might tell a bald man “I love the way your forehead goes all the way to the back of your neck.” A left-handed way of relating to G0d happens when we fall short of the right-handed way. It takes the form of a guilty conscience. It bothers us to go against His way of life. It means God is still in our hearts.

I like to think that the reason Levi was so quick to leave the customs post and follow Jesus was because he had been living by the left-handed way of relating to God. In following Jesus, he eased his conscience and began to experience the right-handed way. And he experienced it for the rest of his life.

In a conversion like Matthew’s, one experiences the contrast between living as deaf to conscience, with one’s heart delighting in sin, and living in tune with conscience with a heart set (although awkwardly) on God. In this contrast one knows that her changed way of living, of experiencing God within, is proof of her forgiveness.

Works for me!