Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.

A few trains of thought, or meanderings of the  mind have been returning to me recently, so I thought I might as well write a blog post about them in case they're useful trains of thought.

At the wonderful moms group I used to attend at my former parish, our leader used to list off virtues at the beginning of every "Hail Mary" during our meeting prayers.  She used to pray for "blind obedience".  This always irked me.  On the one hand I knew that blind obedience to God would be a virtuous thing, and I trusted the prayer of my friend and group leader.  On the other hand, it stoked the fires of defense because "blind obedience" is often something Catholics are accused of.  I think the accusation is mostly that of blind obedience to seemingly arbitrary rules that make no sense.  While that is a topic for a discussion of freedom and license or Church authority, I want to address something else.

Part of me realized that the talons of "the liar" had gone so deep into my person that virtues had begun to irritate me for unknown reasons.  I mean, the world's view of the Church had seeped in so deeply that something like "blind obedience" to God seemed threatening.

So here's the kicker,  why shouldn't we be blindly obedient to God?  What does that even mean?  Have you ever had a parent or someone else ask you to do something without questioning it?  Like, "Do first, ask questions later"?  My boss at a former job used to ask this of all the employees. "Don't ask questions, just do it."  My boss was amazing, so after the first two mistakes (I guess my knee-jerk-reaction is to ask questions when told to do something....) I finally trusted my boss and obeyed.  My dad used to say things like "Just trust me!" all the time when I questioned him.  If I can trust my boss, and my dad, shouldn't I be able to trust God?

Isn't that what blind obedience is?  Trusting God?  Isn't it just laying yourself at the mercy of the one who created you? Who gave his life in a bloody sacrifice for you?  This is so hard to do.  I feel like the world has taken that ability to trust with abandon from me to some extent.  I suppose that is part of the scar of Original sin.  I'm sure I'd know more about this had I a theology degree or something, but this has just been kicking around in my head lately.  I wonder how many other areas in my soul have now been sneakily made suspicious of God through my intake of "the world."

The title of today's blog post comes from the Divine Office for today.  I suppose it's part of the psalms that I need to pray more often.  "Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness."  Sometimes we have darkness that lays undiscovered.

Lord scatter the darkness I have yet to find, that you can see in your infinite vision.  Amen.

As a sidenote, I know that blind obedience to anything isn't a virtue.  This goes along with our 1st commandment.  "I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt not have other gods besides me."  Our trust should lay with God alone and with everything he gives us and shows us.  "Put no trust in princes".   We humans wreak all sorts of havoc without God's guidance, so in general I will continue to question everything but God.

See?  Meandering.  Hopefully somewhat useful.

** Update**
My friend on fb mentioned that it seems strange to call it blind obedience if we have a relationship with the Lord.  Here's my take on it straight from the facebook thread.

"I think this is probably the key. We can have full trust in God and our relationship with him and still be blindly obedient. I may not see, but I can still trust in my God. I suppose the two are not mutually exclusive. Blindness in this sense doesn't mean that you don't have a relationship, it means that you just don't see what's ahead. So you obey, even though you don't know why, and still trust. That makes sense when we think about the trust walk and the blindfold right? Isn't it a wonderful testament to our spirit/body state that I have to recall a physical experience to make sense of spiritual thoughts?! "

I also found out that the virtue of Blind Obedience is one of the 10 virtues of Mary from St. Louis Marie de Montfort's. 


Jonathan said...

I think that one issue is that people mainly have concrete examples of other people, who are fallible and make mistakes. In those situations it can be hard to blindly trust, and I don't think that, for the most part, blind trust in another person is really a good idea.

The other issue, I think, is that people tend to have an abstract picture of God that they either don't work out fully in their heads (what are the implications of their being a God, and what exactly does that mean for my life?) or try to mold their concept of God based on personal preferences (God just wants me to be "good", based on my personal definition of "good", and doesn't really care if I do X, Y, and Z, because I'm basically "good").

In both cases, the concept of "God" remains more abstract, and it's natural to subconsciously place our experiences of other people onto this "God" figure, being slightly distrustful if we think that the "God" in our minds might want something of us that we don't want at the time (possibly going so far as to change our concept of "God" so that this inconvenience disappears).

For others who don't fit into the above categories, I think that the main issue is that it's just hard to follow someone when we know that we will have to recognize our shortcomings and that change will be expected of us. The natural first reaction is to be resentful to some degree. Another is to become busy with life and not think about it, trying to maintain a minimum amount of God-related action in order to make it easier to keep such issues out of our minds.

These issues seem to me to be a major source of depression (the kind that isn't simply based on chemical imbalances) today. When we lack hope (hope in something better, hope that someone is watching over us, hope that there is someone that loves us to which we can completely abandon ourselves), then there is nothing to look forward to. The wonderful truth is that we have a God who is Love to which we can abandon ourselves without worry.

Of course, getting over that first hurdle of following this through and starting to fix our lives is a huge one. I still haven't put into practice everything I learned from "The Spiritual Combat". :)

Jonathan said...

*there being a God (I did not proofread...)

The Gaunts said...

Welcome back to the blog world :). I was just looking at your blog yesterday and thinking, man I wish she would post something. I love reading your blog. What a great post. I've recently been thinking that when I truly Trust in God, in blind obedience, I truly feel more free. It's like my soul realizes this is how God intended for us to live. thank you for sharing!

Val said...

Hah! Thanks for reading Athena! I usually only post something when something has been poking around in my mind for so long I realize I should think about it more often. Maybe I need to set aside more contemplation time this lent! I'm such a blog slacker! Instagram and fb have made me lazy!

Val said...

Or maybe you were telepathically nudging me Athena!

The Gaunts said...

haha, maybe!!!