The differences don’t end with what goes on in our inner landscapes: the differences continue in our actions, habits, efforts – how our inner worlds manifest themselves in this outer one we share. Our ways of being and doing are as far from God’s as our thoughts are – maybe even farther.
Knowing what is needed to love God, self, and neighbor – which isn’t easy – is not the same as loving God, self, and neighbor in tangible ways. It takes effort, patience, and true sacrifice to turn what exists only in possibility into an actuality. And once that effort is made, there’s no guarantee that we will see the fruit of our labors. There’s also no guarantee that we will be recognized, thanked or rewarded for any of it.
So why not leave our ideas and ideals in the realm of potentiality? Why make the attempt to follow the Spirit? There’s only one reason I can think of: the cost of not making the attempt is a life only half lived – a spectator sport bereft of tangible joy. Isn’t living the life God gives us, taking up our own crosses, the only true way to live?
God’s ways, Christ’s way, may not be our ways. But we can offer our fragile and fallible ways, trusting that the Spirit just might be willing to turn them to God’s purpose, and that they will lead us to resurrection.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,*
Nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
[For more on this series, and the whole canticle, click Lent 2021 above.]