Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris - If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar

What, you may ask yourselves, and rightly so, would make a nun so hopping mad that it would cause her to want someone chained to an oar? The answer to that question is simple:

Someone who leads another human being away from God.

It is one thing to hate God yourself. Back in the day, as they say, when Mother Superior was first considering being a nun, she took a class for people who were considering whether or not they had a vocation. One day at the class, Mother Superior mentioned that she was very mad at God all week long. She even hollered at Him. The nuns conducting the class told her that it was good that she had a close enough relationship with God to holler at Him.

I had to think about that one for awhile when I first heard it.

Think of it this way. My sister (who is also my Mother Superior) sometimes gets quite angry with me. Think of it in terms of the idea of a “whipping boy” only this time make it a “whipping nun.” Yes Virginia, nuns are human beings too and sometimes we get mad - I don’t have my halo quite yet but I am working on it. If you ask Mother Superior why she yells at me (I did) aside from the times when I have deserved it (I sometimes have) she will explain it this way. She would tell you, as she did me, that Sister Julie is one of the people she trusts enough to yell at. Huh?

She trusts me enough to yell at because she knows I will always forgive her, whether she was justified in yelling at me or not. No matter how I may feel at the time, I will always forgive her and she knows that. That my friends, takes a whopping big load of trust.

Think also in these terms, if someone is angry with you, be it a relative or a friend, would you rather have that person angry with you and shouting at you - or angry with you and giving you “the silent treatment.” As for me, I had two great aunts who gave each other the silent treatment for over 20 years - and the anger died with them both. But at least if you are shouting at someone you are still talking, eh?

But what of those people who give God, by whatever name they call Him, the silent treatment? Those people who get so angry they walk away from God entirely. If someone wants to walk away from God, they certainly can. As a nation we have done so - we tell God to get out of our schools, and our work places. Where I work to help support the convent an official memo came out banning God from the office. It is a government office, and all discussions about God where prohibited. I wonder if God got the memo? I am sure He did.

It is one thing to walk away from God, to abandon Him. It is another thing entirely to lead someone else in the same direction - and THAT is what gets me hopping mad.

God has saved my life. His love has changed my life. Before I was going to kill myself. When I reached the point of my life where I was willing to end it all I gave my life to God. Unconditionally. I woke up the next morning with the burning desire to be a nun, and a Buddhist nun at that. The thing is, at the time, I wasn’t even a Buddhist. So here I am, a changed woman. Of all the people in my high school, I certainly would have been voted “least likely to become a nun” - at the time the world didn’t even consider me the right gender (I guess I could have become half a nun then).

God saved my life.

St. Teresa of Avila once said she would give a thousand lives to save one soul.

The son of the founder of the school of Buddhism I follow said very much the same thing.

Yet from time to time, I meet someone who blames God for their woes and walks away from Him; and also leads other people away from God as well.

Misery doesn’t just love company, it demands it.

Sometimes we are wont to shake our fist at the sky and say “You did this to me God.” In the case of the woman we care for in the convent, no one stuck the cigarette in her mouth and made her smoke for 52 years. In fact a lot of people tried to get her to quit. (Before any smokers go on about how hard it is to quit, I used to smoke and I quit). But very few times does anyone, after they blame God, ever ask WHY something happened.

I said, “God you did this to me. You made me born the way I am!”

God said, “Yes I did it.”

At this point God could have said, “But I am God and what are you going to do about it?” But God, being the gentleman and loving father that He is explained WHY He did it. When I finally understood (it took me awhile) and realized not only how much I have learned from it, but that it also gave me a chance to suffer for God, I had one response for God…

“Thanks Dad.”

But that doesn’t always happen. When something happens of our own making, or just HAPPENS, people don’t always turn to God in response. That person is free to walk away from God.

The woman who was one of the founders of the school of Buddhism I follow LIVED embracement. She lived her life for it, and died for it. There are many paths to God, and she was willing to accept everyone’s path. That is a rare quality, even now. So many times as a race, human beings are too busy telling others that they have the only real path to God. In the school of Buddhism to which I belong the founders TOLD people to keep whatever faith they had before they came to Buddhism.

But the founders are gone, and things change.

There is a woman in my temple I will call “Buddhist X”. She has walked away from God. Any discussion of Jesus and the Holy Family seems to offend her. She has had shouting matches in the temple with Christians telling them they can’t pray to God. Yet, like Thomas Merton, there are many people in my temple who are both Christian and Buddhist. Remember, the founders of this school of Buddhism lived and died to provide a place where people like Thomas Merton and I would be accepted with open arms. Yet Buddhist X and others have tried to lead others away from Christianity. They have told them they are forbidden to pray directly to God. They spend their time trying to drive a wedge between God and mankind. Buddhist X even tried to drive a wedge between Mother Superior and I. She tried to destroy our convent when it was in it’s infancy. If the founders of the school of Buddhism I follow were alive today, they would die of shock again to see what Buddhist X and those like her are trying to do to the path to God they founded - Buddhist X and those like her try to use it to separate God and Mankind.

Do I think Buddhist X deserves to be chained to an oar? You bet, but that is not my decision to make. God can handle it on his own. My reaction will always be the same. I will continue to pray for Buddhist X every day.

God Bless You All,

Sister Julie

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