Saturday, December 1, 2012
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and inquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest. So many times in my life I could describe myself as restless. What an apt word for the sense of directionless malaise that overcomes a person when he isn't following his true path. Most times I didn't even know where my path lay or that it existed at all. Man feels a calling inside of himself, something ineffable and strange, and if he tries to define this through his own knowledge and experience he will fail. Exploring this yearning need for significance can lead a man toward selfish pursuits, none of which will edify him, or it can lead him to God. Multitudes have come before us, and scores of men have developed philosophies that can dictate the paths of life. There is a faith in the mysteries of faith and human existence that binds men across continents and thousands of years. Who are we to strike out on our own? Do we really suppose to know more than these wise men, long dead and memorialized? When we develop our own philosophies of life, so often divorced from any theology, we find that this restlessness doesn't dissipate. In fact, it grows only stronger. Only through humility, through realizing that we can develop a new path only after walking all those trodden before, do we find peace. After all, what is the goal of this mortal life other than to find peace in ourselves, give peace to others, to share God's love with those around us? If we put an aim above the aim of eternal life, our minds and spirits revolt against us. So isn't it more right and true to be placid, to be accepting and humble, to be loving and contrite and gracious? We are here for only a short time, and our path is one that need not climb. We will climb eventually if we walk along the straight path. The internal verification of this is the affirmation of rest and placidity; if we follow the teachings of scripture, as so many have before us, the peace that comes over us is a peace of restfulness. That is our good way.