It Makes Us The Right Size

One of the best arguments I’ve ever read for kneeling in prayer is from Mary Karr's latest memoir Lit. Here’s a paraphrase of the passage:

Why kneel? The author asks while attempting to work out her recovery from alcohol.

Because it makes us the right size, replies her sponsor.

On the list of reasons I have removed myself from the parish in which I spent years being very active is the fact that they removed the kneelers and preached that if we kneel during the consecration then we are removing ourselves from the community!! They justified our lack of kneeling at the consecration and after communion by teaching that kneeling puts us in a penitential and “lesser” position.  Well, duh!!

If we don’t have enough sense to be penitential and acknowledge the glaringly obvious that we are “lesser” than the Almighty, then we have a really skewed and screwed up philosophy of theology.

A classmate of mine from college once wrote that we are a ‘Resurrection People’.  Well, yes we are, but, in order to get to the Resurrection we must go through Good Friday and the long loneliness of Holy Saturday. If anyone doubts this, just live a little. Is there anyone who doesn’t go through Good Fridays and Holy Saturdays in their life?

We need to go through the many trials and difficulties of life in order to be a person of depth, of heft, of intelligence and, perhaps most importantly, compassion.

Another myth perpetrated among us baby boomers is that we are entitled to not only childhoods free of conflict and difficulties, but adulthoods of one victory after another, because we deserve it.  I admit, I never understood what ‘deserve’ means.  But I do believe in the abundant and overflowing gifts of grace and joy and love and beauty that surround us, fill us, carry us through. If we have any sense at all, we will be grateful and humble enough to be thankful, and yes, get on our knees once in a while and acknowledge that we are not the source of all this wonder, we are the recipients of gifts we could never earn.

We need to get to the right size and recognize and rejoice in the many resurrections that are graced to us, not because we deserve them, but because we have a gracious and generous God.

PS:  What does this have to do with writing?  Well, just try writing anything: an essay, a short story, a novel, with characters who live one happy moment to the next and never come to terms with their Good Fridays.  Who would read it.  Who would care?