Have you ever wondered why you are so distracted in Mass sometimes? Why you always forget your nephew’s birthday? Why thoughts pop into your head that are objectively quite “off” (as in the smelly, putrid, just-plain-wrong sense of the word)? Why we truly empathise with St Paul when he says “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.” [Romans 7:15].
I often wonder about this!
How being a Christian is at the same time the “easiest” decision I have ever made, yet the “hardest” decision to live out. Why am I so imperfect? God must roll His eyes every time He sees what I am doing (He must be rolling them a lot).
The Lord has blessed me this week with a little “lesson” about this in the form of our new puppy.
She is a lively 8 month old mini-fox terrier called Honeybear (Honey for short). She is gorgeous, but she is all dog! She yaps at the wind or her own shadow, or a leaf. She will escape at any opportunity to terrorise our neighbours dog through the fence. She loves rolling in chook poo or anything dead for that matter. Seriously she has had 3 baths this week because she rolled in a dead cane toad that just happened to pass away in the middle of the field where we give her a run. She is the first “small” dog we have owned, and it is a trying experience.
Yet…we absolutely love her. The family hasn’t laughed as much, just about ever. And she is…ooooh so cuddly. And she adores me. We now don’t know how life would be without her. Despite all her weakness and failings, I take her as she is and love her to bits anyway.
Isn’t this like God’s love for us (a loose parallel anyway – I admit that dogs aren’t sentient beings with an immortal soul)? He sees all our imperfections and “human-ness” and loves us anyway. I won’t even go into the fact that God even became one of us to show how amazing His love for us is – that is a whole another level of reflection. Needless to say, God loves us a lot.
A big difference between us and a dog is that we actually have the ability to make a rational choice to “expand” past my human limitations. I can practice memory exercises to remember my nephew’s birthday (or at least put it into Google calendar). I can try and kill off those dodgy thoughts as they enter my mind (attempt to at least). I can have a Missal in Mass to help me keep on track. I can choose all these things. The reality is however, is that I will never actually be perfect (in this life anyway). By being human, I am stuck with my human limitations. And God loves me anyway, infinitely more than I love our new puppy.