Monday, August 02, 2010

Jesus is my Prozac

Is it must me or are church marquees getting stranger and stranger?

The previous post was about "Ethical Eating" and I've highlighted some cute and funny ones in past postings.

But this week must be particularly strange. Is it in the water in my town?

The non-denominational church about four blocks from my house has declared this:


How about that for dragging Christ down to our psychotic level? I don't know if the marquee sign changer has a history of depression who's found Jesus and the practice of his religion has saved him from dependence on Prozac. Or is it someone trying to be cute?

Are we that depressed as a culture? There are so many things to say at so many levels.

So I'll try to take this at the most sincere level. Yes, humans are a unity of body and soul. God speaks to us through both matter and spirit. That is what the sacramental life is all about...God communicating Grace through matter and spirit...transforming us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In our entertainment-soaked world, there is a preponderance of satisfying the sensual, the passions to the exclusion, or near-exclusion of the spiritual. This all speaks to our disorderedness as a fallen race.

Our passions over-rule our spirit, the part of us that desires to be united with God. At creation, it was the soul that was to rule our bodies. We suffer, because of The Fall, our disordered passions. No longer do we seek to do God's will, the true source of our happiness.

St. Paul declared to the Athenians in that marvelous sermon on Mars Hill:
"For in him we live, and move, and are..."
When we understand this, there is a profound need for us to re-orient ourselves to this North Star.

When our gaze is on the ground in front of us, we shall never see what Reality truly is. The spiritual life is one that is rooted in reality as it is. Contrary to the popular view that being concerned with the spiritual steers us away from ordinary, daily concerns. On the contrary, to order one's spiritual life is a re-ordering and a restoration of man as he was meant to be.

The spiritual oriented toward God effects changes within passions. So the distractions of this world which are fleeting and ephemeral (the delicacies of this life) should not occupy the primacy of our concerns. When they do, we become weighed down, and we experience the toil that is the curse of Adam.

When our possessions possess us, our eyes fall from the view of heaven to the horizon of earth until that horizon gets lower and lower.

The Ordinary Form reading at Mass yesterday was from the Epistle to the Colossians:
"Therefore, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols."

The secret to happiness in this life, where peace reigns in our daily life is stated by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians:
"And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things. The things which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these do ye, and the God of peace shall be with you."
Yes, it is a struggle to wrestle with our passions and reorder them upward toward heaven. Yes, it is a struggle to gain virtue in this life. But through God's grace, our habituation in things that are true, and good, and modest, and lovely...the life of discipline...wins for us peace, because we regain an integration of our body and soul.

Oh, and the Baptist chapel a mile down the road has this:


A month or two ago they displayed this:


Yes, that's a good springboard for discussion with friends and co-workers. "Say, what's your GPS?" "Why, it's Deus ex machina, of course!"