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Out With the Old and In With the...Old?

When a young couple marries, everything is about establishing the groundwork of their new family: a new home, new patterns of behavior, new hopes…and renewed love. When my classmates and I were preparing for ordination, there was an excitement and fervor for what we would become and so bring to the Church. One good fellow in particular danced around with the words of the psalmist on his lips: ”My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!”

Every age needs fervor, along with insights to overcome past problems and current difficulties, as well as a renewed vision of what Jesus expects from His Church. Sometimes our vision as believers becomes myopic, too readily it focuses on ourselves instead of the Lord. I find it more than interesting that when one experiences a new vocation, we bring our old selves into a new relationship, which itself is like a third person: me, my priesthood, the Lord; husband, wife, the marriage. It isn’t fair to allow this third person, so to speak, to be swallowed whole by either spouse, though I would guess it is more permissible for my vocation to be swallowed whole by the Lord.

Politics is very good at pretending the old is new, but that which is marked by faith should be real, sound, tested, and whole. Sure, fervor may flag and love will wane as it waxes as well, but the truth of one’s identity ought to remain firm, even as it gels into a more perfect and purified form of who we are into what God intends us to become. We are God’s people now; what we will be in heaven, we don’t fully know, so we rely on our relationship with God to see us through that transformation. Like a handmaid awaits on her mistress, we wait on the Lord. It is proper for the maid to allow her service to carry over in her deportment when in the presence of her mistress, and so the faithful are exhorted to express their faith, sing their praises to God and incite ever new feelings of hope and love into our relationship with the Lord. But our deportment should be fitting, as the praise and prayers ought to be real. At Sunday mass, we really need to dress ourselves up in more ways than one. When praying the rosary as a family or singly with one’s angel guardian ever near, it seems only right to adopt a heartfelt awe while addressing heaven’s queen. We are, after all, serving the Lord in holiness, even though we ourselves are not yet holy.

The way we approach God will determine who we become in His presence. This isn’t magic, it’s psychology. Humans have great potential if only it can be made real. Our relationship with God isn't really a third person but it ought to bring about a different perspective: that’s the difference between saints and sinners. I used to think it phony advice to suggest, “fake it till you make it.” Now that I reconsider the truths of the faith in light of my own weak and often dissolute disposition, I look forward to singing “my heart is ready, O Lord!” Even when it’s not, it can still be made so.

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