Lenten Observance: Day 8

Tao 15 & 16:

“Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear?”  These days there seems to be so much stirring up, and not much waiting until things settle to proceed.  That’s not a good approach — we can be (I certainly can) carried away by our emotional reactions to things and that leads to hasty decisions, or to decisions made in the heat of one emotion or another.  As a result of such decisions, there is a strong blowback from someone on the other side, and things go back and forth.  In talking about the “old masters,” ch. 15 notes they were like people crossing ice, or like warriors in enemy territory, but courteous too.  That idea of courteous alertness I think is great.  When the Supreme Court made various progressive decisions in the 1960s, progressives looked at the matter as settled, and the battle won.  But reactionaries and conservatives banded together and have been changing the landscape in the legislature, and almost all of those victories are much compromised, or even gone.  In my growing up Catholic in the euphoria of the openness of Vatican II, I am much disheartened that very little of the spirit of Vatican II is left in the Catholic Church, at least not among the leadership.  The church will ultimately lose their battle to turn back the clock, but only after lots of pain and sorrow.  US political movements are not the same as the progressive movements in the Church — ultimately the authority rests in the Pope and the Cardinals, so that the divide between pastors and flocks means nothing as far as the Church’s official position;  I’m not sure that progressives could have kept Vatican II going when JP II stacked the College of Cardinals;  progressives in the US still don’t seem to get the long haul aspect, the being alert like a warrior in enemy territory, though remaining courteous.  And they can make a difference. 

Ch. 16 begins: “Empty  your mind of all thoughts…”  Dispense with monkey mind.  Of course, I’m not sure that this is possible, but we can become more improvisatory, letting the world communicate to us, and continuing that conversation, without drowning out what we hear, and without letting what we fear control us before we hear what is said.

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