Thursday, May 03, 2007
What Does the Lord Require of Us?
...love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with our God...
So often, what comes to mind when I think of this part of Holy Scripture, is the place a few blocks away that feeds homeless people seven days a week, three meals a day. So often I think of things to vote for. So often I think of the downtrodden whom I don't even know and can't really personally do much for anyways. Or there's the favorite social justice issue du jour that only affects me insofar as it might impact the places I shop. Pretty cushy, on my end of things, isn't it?
Lisa, over at Author Intrusion is thinking about such things, and asking some very good questions. Her thoughts reminded me of what I was thinking about yesterday:
In my little bitty life as a mother, a homeschooling mother, a Stay-At-Home-Mom (and all the supposedly unappreciated bourgeoisie that that implies), how much do I hold these words at arms length, instead of embracing them right here, right now?
Do I love mercy? Or do I come down hard and unmercifully on my own children? Do I love mercy when I think about my own sins, or do I constantly berate myself and never ever accept God's forgiveness? Do I love mercy in my attitudes and thoughts and words about other people? Am I truly merciful to them...my family, the people in my parish, my friends and acquaintances, my neighbors, the other drivers on the road, the tired person who is scanning my groceries, the frequent posters on the e-mail lists I receive, or am I quick to criticize and judge either out loud or in my head and heart?
Do I seek justice? Do I take the time to really listen and discern when my kids start fighting with each other? When they have a "situation", or do I just throw some parental platitude in the general direction of the noise that neither is just, nor instructs them in better ways, but is merely lazy on my part? The need for justice is not only "out there", but also "in here", inside these for walls. If I were a Queen and this were my kingdom, would my rule be just?
Do I walk humbly with my God? Or do I get all proud of myself when I manage to pray three days in a row, imagining myself to be on such a sure footing, when in reality I constantly fall? Do I act and think and in my deepest heart believe that I really actually have to save myself (thereby spurning God's gift of salvation while all the while claiming to embrace it)? Do I humbly accept God's forgiveness, or do I keep it at arms length? Do I remember, acknowledge and worship God always, even when it is an act of the will rather than a comfortable, cozy, emotional experience? Do I walk humbly with my God?
I write all this not to disparage the call for social justice, and works of mercy outside of one's family. No, no, no! Not at all. It's just that unless it's starting, growing and firmly established here at home and in my own heart, I know there will be nothing at all to do or to give to others.
I measure myself, and come up lacking...as usual. God have mercy!