Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Puppet Gods

We did the "divide and conquer" thing again on Sunday: we got up late, I really wanted to go to 9 a.m. Mass,  and there was no way we'd all be ready in time. Besides, the kids were cranky and I didn't want to sit through the extra-long Palm Sunday Mass with them. So I went to 9 a.m., and Michael walks out the door as I walk in to make the 10:30 (generally calling questions and instructions to each other while one walks down the driveway).

 As we head into Holy Week, and coming up to the Triduum (my very favourite time of year), often the homilies are about the Death of Christ and the Redemption of Sin, for obvious reasons. Sunday's homily was no exception. 

Father talked about the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, but how they turned on Him demanding His crucifixion only a few days later. What changed? I've heard this explanation before, that they were expecting their Messiah to deliver them from their enemies, the Romans. When it became clear that it was not the case, well... I'm sure you know how this story ends. 

But something Father said has stuck with me, and I admit has troubled me. He said that people often treat God like their own personal puppet God (his words, not mine), expecting them to deliver them from their problems. In fact, Christ came to deliver us from our sin.

At first, I nodded my head. It made sense. I mean, I understood it with my brain. We can't rely on God to fix our own  personal problems: He has equipped us to do that more or less ourselves. I have know people over the course of my life that have sat back and expected God to fix their lives, and then blamed Him when nothing happened.

And I mean, there is nothing saying we can't pray for wisdom as to how to solve our problems, on making the right choices, or praying that we receive a little divine testicular fortitude courage to do the right thing.

Absolutely. I wholly agree with this homily. God doesn't fix our problems, He fixed our sin.  Case closed.

But then my heart whispered: What about your children? 

And so I said to my heart: What was that? Speak up, please.

And then my heart reminded me of all the times I spent on my knees, praying for Abby to be healed. Knowing that it probably wouldn't happen, but also believing that miracles can and do happen. I remembered my anguished cry when I started bleeding in my first trimester with Rachael: "Please God, let me at least meet my child." How many breathless prayers have I whispered for my children, my spouse, my parents, my friends and my community?

Sometimes God does fix our problems. We usually call them miracles. Pretty sure that's the definition of a miracle. Or at least, we'll call it Divine Intervention and consider the matter settled.  Either way, I don't expect Him to just... poof... fix something, especially if it's a mess I have skillfully created myself.  But I don't think that asking Him to fix my "problem" is in itself... well, a problem.

Is it?