Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

The Romantics of the Enlightenment, hearing stories of Tahiti and Fiji and other distant, exotic places supposed that the trouble with Europe and America was they had lost their sense of the natural. If we could only throw off societal ways and return to that Garden of Eden where people acted as their natural impulses – for food, shelter, family, friends, warmth, comfort, etc. – we would be happy. But, alas, “society” continued on its reckless rush toward industrialization, mechanization, war, violence, segregation and climate change despite the pleas of the Romantics.
We still hear a similar plea from some latter day romantics. If its not society it's religion that causes all wars (except, of course, the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War I and World War II.)

I remember that idealism in the 1960’s when many of my contemporaries went off in search of Shangri-La and Timbuktu. I was briefly enchanted with Inuit life and studied the construction of an igloo.  Unfortunately there's not much snow in Louisville, Ky.
Romantics love the world as it should be rather than as it is. But, of course, they cannot (and need not) agree upon how it should be.  They can argue to their heart's content about how it should be while the rest of us address the world as it is. 

Saint John teaches us that “God so loved the world.…” He did not wait for the world to become a better place, more worthy to receive the gift of his son. He did not maintain a scornful distance from human life, shaming it by an aloof silence. Rather, God so loved the world / when we were still sinners.

Spiritual healing begins when I see that my ideal world will never come to pass. I should love not that which I prefer but that which is given to me. I do not love the ideal parents I should have had, but I do love Marty and Edith. I will not love the ideal family but I can prefer my own siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews. Nor should I love an ideal church but I can love the friars with whom I live.

At some point I realize not only that my ideal world will never come to pass; I hope that it will not because it would represent only a very flawed character: me.

God did not send his Son to condemn the world, nor has he sent us to condemn anyone. Rather he sent Jesus that the world might be saved through our love and our willingness to be here. In Communion with Christ we are sent to be merciful, just and kind; to suffer and suffer with; to enjoy and to share our joy.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.