Alot of things have come together in the past week or so to focus my thoughts on aspirations versus reality...For one thing, I had that wretched essay to write for the Bishop "Reflections on the Diaconal Year and Expectations of Priesthood"...It's that "E" word, isn't it? Here in this parish there is quite a high view of priesthood, such that I can almost see the pedestal under construction as some members of the congregation view my approaching priesting (others, of course, are busy building the bonfire which heretics deserve ;-) ). I hate to disappoint them, but there's no way that I will become the work of finished holiness that some seem to anticipate, this side of eternity,however much Grace is poured upon me on 2nd July!
But I wouldn't be here at all if I didn't have certain aspirations, would I?
To be an effective (oh no...now what does that word mean?) faithful minister of the Gospel in this place...to try to live, however falteringly, as a "walking Sacrament"...oh, I've plenty of aspirations, as well as a pretty good sense of the rather messy reality.
Now Preacher Mom is considering her life as a series of "let's pretend" games, in which she dons a series of masks, and manages to live up to her appointed roles, despite feeling rather different inside. And I know that I do that too...
Does this make me dishonest or brave? Is it hypocrisy to try to live up to one's aspirations, while knowing that the inner reality is still very different. I've tended to cling to some words which I read a long long time ago. I think they may be Augustine, but nobody has ever been able to confirm this
"Not what thou art, nor what thou hast been, but what thou would'st be, beholdest God in his mercy"
That feels like permission to aspire to much, and to try to hold together that sense of huge hopes and chaotic reality. In quite another context, someone quoted Catherine of Siena to me last week
"You are not called to perfection, but to infinite desire..."
I like that. It means I can go on dreaming...