Tuesday in the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey
“Although you cleanse the outside of the cup, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?”
Well…yes, He did. And He made our insides for the purpose of caring. We can care for and we can care that, but Jesus seems to focus on what we care about. We care about something that guides our lives and our conduct. What we care about determines what we do with our life. Jesus is telling us that what we care about is important, i.e. it makes a difference.
We identify with what we care about; it is who we are. So, when Jesus says things like, “Follow me…If you want to be my disciple…If you do not renounce all your possessions…” He is asking us to make our relationship to Him become who we are, the guide of our life. We follow Him to the Father. In following Him to the Father we become devoted to what is cared about. That is faith.
In this devotion we consider ourselves to have a future. The events of our life are connected to a concern about what one does with her life. That is hope.
We don’t just decide to care about the Father. We act according to the Fathers will. As St. Bernard says, we join our will to the Fathers. He says there is a union of wills and that is love. When we deeply care about the Father, He is the object of our faith, hope, and love.
We care about the Father on the spiritual level and on the practical level we care about the community that takes us to Him. We become vulnerable to its loss or diminishment and susceptible to any sign of one’s marginalization …but only if we really care.
This vulnerability includes our calling. As a calling, a monastic’s caring is not necessarily under her control. When the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time I thought the idea of being a monk was absurd. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. It ate at me constantly. Other things I had cared about like career, dating, and the house began to recede in importance, in the difference they made. And they haven’t been back. I didn’t lose the power to reject the call; I lost the will to reject it. And I was unwilling to change my unwillingness. That’s caring about caring. I think you know what I mean.