Saturday, 10 October 2015

Holy Havoc

I am a person who is naturally drawn to being careful, who shuns the reckless, who loves order, stillness and silence.  I admit to finding these characteristics attractive in others and in consequence I could be accused of narcissism in my friendships.

There is certainly an essence of the Divine in order, carefulness, stillness and silence.  God can be found there and many have encountered Him in that stillness.

However, these things are not necessarily good in themselves.  What is harder to grasp is that the diabolical also has a love of order and stillness.  The order and stillness it loves is but a parody to the True order and stillness where God dwells.  But nevertheless it is an order and stillness in its own right and we must learn to discern its presence and avoid it.  Diabolical order can be found in the intricate record keeping and cataloguing that we do of everybody elses traits, habits and faults as well as our own.  Only the devil keeps a ledger.  God forgets and He does so every time we go to Confession and are truly repentant.  Diabolical order can be found in obsessive ritualism, in secret societies, in covert surveillance, the "old boys' network", in art collections and cellars full of fine wine. Diabolical stillness is terrifying.  It is the stillness of emptiness, the stillness without light or hope, a stillness that rejected love.  It is stillness where I picture Judas, where he acts as a sentinel at the permanently shut gates of oblivion.  Since the Resurrection there is no more oblivion, we are all judged because as He shared our humanity so we share in His Divinity. There can be no more oblivion as meted out to Sodom and Gomorrah, or the oblivion meted out at the Flood.... but at its gates, there is diabolical stillness.   The mystery is that so many seem to seek it out and seem to crave it.  It has a "spirituality" all of its own.

What about those things that leave me so uneasy: havoc, chaos and carelessness?  It is easy to see the negatives in these.  We can easily see how the devil can make use of these, indeed we can call him the "lord of misrule".  But they are not necessarily bad in themselves and this leads to the questions that have to be asked.  How does God make use of havoc, chaos and carelessness? Is there something in the Divine that actually works through havoc, chaos and carelessness?  Is there a way of loving God that involves havoc, chaos and carelessness?  The answer to these questions has to be YES, and this terrifies me.

There is a list of saints I don't much care for and in whom I can find nothing appealing.  They are saints who I am going to suggest reflect the Divine in their havoc, chaos and carelessness.  They loved God, period.  Nothing else got in the way.  They were stubborn, passionate, indiscriminate in their love and strong willed.  They simply can't be imitated.  And many who try end up achieving the exact opposite, moving away from God and being angry with Him because things don't go as they want them to. Many also have received great blessings from them, they are saintly heavyweights. Everything about them was driven by emotion, by the moment, by the stubborn love of God in that moment.  They terrify me.  Their sanctity is assured and I know that through them I am having to learn the uncomfortable lesson that holy havoc exists.  That God isn't a God of "Godly Order".... oh the irony!

And who are these saints?  I will name, St Therese of Lisieux,  St Francis of Assisi and St Pius X.  And our current Holy Father has a childlike trust and devotion to all of them.  We live in an age characterised by havoc, I think we must also accept it and let God work through it.

Quite probably true.

Prigogine's my Physics hero, and he may just be right here too.


Ttony said...

"How does God make use of havoc, chaos and carelessness?"

I think there's something about not aiming at being a stereotype and not valuing stereotypes as ideals. God created us, therefore we have the possibility of perfection as we are. We are all sinners, but the Little Flower seems to have come pretty close to understanding and doing what God created her to do, while she was on earth.

You are probably unable to think of "havoc", "chaos" or "carelessness" other than as negatives. "Unregimented", or "not planned to the nth degree", or "completely unexplored" might be somebody else's positive description of exactly the same thing.

I think I'm probably violet to your red, but I have to learn that ascetic discipline is as important as just doing stuff: in fact if we could only love our neighbours as ourselves, we might learn how to value ourselves, others' selves, and the beautiful product which comes when we all try to accommodate ourselves to the others.

Jackie Parkes said...

Thanks for this - would you mind updating your blogroll to my latest