Friday, July 22, 2016

Urbi et Orbi | What's Eating The Last Angry Man?

I write the following not to boast, but to provide necessary context to my present consternation: For the last three days, I've woken up three hours earlier than normal to drive a fellow without a driver's license from downtown Flint to his court-mandated community service in Pontiac, a the sprawling Oakland County government campus. If he is late on any morning to his days of community service, he will have to serve an equal number of days in jail. The worst part isn't the havoc being played with my sleep schedule, but the conversation he insists we have every morning; this chap is an acquaintance, not a friend, & every before this current vexation I found his company tedious & uninteresting. But, as we must always remind ourselves, love (charity) is not an emotion, it is an act of will. Love requires us to prefer others' interests ahead of our own. After returning from the forty-minutes-each-way drive, I went to Mass, participating actively in the public worship of the Church. After Mass, I returned to downtown Flint for my weekly visit to the Genesee County Jail. There, I helped conduct a Bible study with several inmates, & shared with them the love of the Lord & the rigors of discipleship. We read & discuss the Scriptures for the following Sunday, exploring both those texts' particular meanings & the magisterial intentions of the Church in selecting those particular readings in that particular combination. It is an awe-inspiring experience, seeing Jesus Christ behind bars, in a place that is otherwise palpably devoid of hope. Becoming authorized to visit the jail & minister to the inmates required several hours of online study & the payment of various administrative fees, as well as the weekly donation of one's time & talent; I do this because the Lord called me to visit the imprisoned, as He directed us to do in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew's Gospel.

That's how I spent my morning. This evening, at the first of what is intended to be a monthly series of discipleship opportunities—explicitly meant to encourage we parishioners to persevere in the faith & grow in "intentional discipleship" (de rigueur jargon de jour)—a paid employee of the parish said that unless one closes one's eyes, raises one's hands, or makes some other visible sign of participation/approval during the playing of "praise & worship" music, one has not allowed the Lord Jesus to sit on the throne of one's heart. I woke up early & spent over an hour on the road to drive a man of whom I'm not particularly fond to the just punishment for his freely chosen breaches of the law (sparing him a harsher but no less just punishment), I worshiped the Lord in the public liturgy of the Church, & I conducted Bible study with violent felons in the clink—none of it for my glory, but all for His, in my best effort to be obedient to the will of God—but I am not a disciple of Christ Jesus after all, because I do not raise my hands during praise & worship.
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
—Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV
That's what's eating The Last Angry Man.

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