Father Wall reminds us of the teachings of St Thomas Aquinas and how the great saint differentiates between carnal men and men of the spirit. A carnal man (or woman) relates primarily to the world she can hear, see and feel. It is the senses that guide a carnal woman. St Thomas used the way the Shepherds in the field and the Three Wise Men found their way to Jesus. He argues that these guys were carnal men for whom reality was found in the senses. Because of that, they were lead to Jesus through the external - the Shepherds through the external appearance of the Angels and the Magi through the Star of Bethlehem.
I see myself all over this kind of idea. I would like to think I am a real spiritual giant, a woman who has found Christ and no longer depends upon outside stuff to make her feel okay. I would like to think I am, as St Thomas describes, a woman of the spirit who is totally aware of the Presence of God at all times because I 'just know' - I am moved by the Spirit.
Father Wall, in his book, lists the characteristics of those people of the Spirit. I am cool with a lot of the list (it is really too long to recreate here - go buy the book on Amazon) but then I see things like:
- They are forgiving and do not hold grudges
- They have little 'ego' and seem to have no need for praise or recognition
And I come to a SCREECHING HALT.
I believe that I am growing and maturing but I also am acutely aware that I still depend way too much on the outside, on the world of the senses, to feel okay. I still care what others might think of me, whether or not I am making a good impression and if anyone likes my earrings (or shoes or whatever else I deem important at the moment). While I have lessened my dependence upon people, places and things it does not take much to remind me that I am far and away from a total communion with God.
I am reminded that the purpose of the journey is to find God. I am also reminded that the journey itself can be amazing. I have been an active drunk, I have hit bottom, I have gotten sober. I have aborted my children and lost one to miscarriage. I am a widow. I am a daughter, a Supervisor, a Catechist, a Lay Dominican, a writer and a player of FarmVille 2. I am an aunt and a sister and a cousin. I am a Niner Faithful and someone who would love to someday go to a World Series game where I watch Bumgarner strike out batter after batter after batter.
I am, still, a carnal woman but I am moving closer and closer to be a woman of The Spirit. Every day I pray and try again to live a life worthy of Jesus I am making an attempt to be someone better than I am right now.
I am grateful for Holy Mother Church and Her guidance on this Journey. Without Her, without the Sacramental and Liturgical Life offered to me I would be stumbling far more than I do. Never one to pretend I got this, it feels good to know that the answers to the kind of life I want to live are easily accessible.
Easy? no. Simple? yes.
Keep me in prayer.