Crossing: Reclaiming the Landscape of our Lives

So I started to read this book recently. I had picked it out of the library because of it was listed under Liturgy of the Hours, and I have been looking for a good book on the importance of incorporating it into ones life. It doesn’t really focus on the Liturgy per se, but rather uses the topic of the Liturgy as a spring board for discussing the “faith journey” (shudder). Some of the ideas in the book are interesting and the author is to be praised for his honesty in discussing the life of faith. It’s not always easy, and is seldom rewarding, in the sense of tangible consolations. The idea of coming to honest terms and learning to live with our “brokenness” is something that I needed to be reminded of.

However, I have just reached the third chapter (Noon Prayer), and the book is starting to fall apart before my very eyes. Now, I will grant that labyrinths are not post-Vatican II inventions designed to turn the believer in on himself. They date, at the latest, to the medieval cathedrals. But, in post-Vatican II hands, the concept of the labyrinth is sometimes transfigured into the Eighth Sacrament, whereby the process of turning about becomes the tangible means of God’s gracious presence. I will pull quotes from this chapter on labyrinths, and others, in the future.

For now, partly because I don’t have the book in front of me, I would like to focus on one sentence that will, horrifyingly, be forever etched in my mind:

God is of no use in bed.

OK. First, the context. Our author is coming to terms with the sacrifices he has had to make in becoming a monk. He says that, while the image of Christ as the Groom is true, it is a concept lacking a certain consolatory depth. OK, I can buy that. But surely there are better ways of expressing this truth than saying that God is of no use in bed, if only for the obvious slight on the Sacrament of Matrimony that gets thrown out in the process. God is of no use in bed, but spouses are. Are what? Of “use” “in bed”. Spouses are to be “used” for what, pray tell? Elsewhere our author says that God can’t keep him warm and smell good next to him (which deserves a whole paragraph of its own). So, he’s not saying spouses are of use for heat and odor “in bed”. Same for companionship. So again, what is it that spouses are supposed to be “used” for?

Uhm, according to the Late Great John Paul II, the answer to that question would be “nothing”, let alone those non-heating and odoriferous bedtime “uses”. Surely, I am over-reacting a little bit. But, other and different weird statements crop up in this chapter, which I will reference later, which finally made the book an exercise in endurance rather than…well, what I had hoped it might be.

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~ by Rob on October 9, 2006.

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