I AM reflecting on death -a again. It seems easy to understand, only hard to do. Christ's demand that we die to self-centredness. Yet I am confused.
If it were only the case that we make and mould society — whether of the world or the Church—then responsibility in love would prompt one to lay down one's life through involvement. Part of me wants to be given completely to the battle against the demons of greed, ignorance, blindness to beauty, by getting into the thick of it, to where the action is and where the decisions are made.
But part of me is seized with fear and trembling at such a project because it is also the case that we ourselves are made and moulded by society. And its air is polluted in more ways than one.
How resist the corrupt and corrupting influences interwoven with all politics, whether they be of the State, of the Church, of religious communities? How, as Daniel Berrigan put it (in an article printed in October's New Blackfriars) possess "one's own life, not belong to the hunters, not inhabit their dreams, not be hung as a trophy on their walls?"
How, in other words, respond to Christ's "Leave the dead to bury the dead"? For they seem to me as dead men who utter deathfilled phrases such as: "Bri
tain's interest alone shall decide whether or not we supply arms to South Africa."
Dead, too, those in the hierarchy or religious communities whose (perhaps inculpable) blind concern for the Church as organisation rather than as movement of evangelisation, forces even the Borrellis of Christianity to take one step outside the structure.
How shall we live in the kingdom if we inhabit such houses? Is the answer to curse both and withdraw to some modern equivalent of the desert, to some underground, to some place at the edge of society and church?
Perhaps I do not have to make an either fight or flight decision. Perhaps there is some way of finding "a still centre at the heart of the cyclone," some way of being where the action is, yet staying where the perspective is.
For they tell me that in the desert I may find more demons than in the city. In fact they say that there the demons reveal their terrifying source—my own heart!
Perhaps there is no other place to go than to God who is greater than my heart, no other armour with which to fight corruption than His Word. "Leave the dead" I must, but "preach the good news" I must, equally, and if possible loud enough to awaken the dead.