I’m back from Holy Week. My knees ache and my back is a mess from so much kneeling and genuflecting but you know what? I don’t mind. These aches and pains just remind me that I’ve mortified the body to glorify what is incorruptible and I find a joy in that thought I never knew possible.
On Palm Sunday I was made a cleric. I now wear a white surplice with my cassock. In time the vestments will add up: the collar, the chausible, then perhaps one day if I am ever made a bishop (if I live that long) I will wear the mantle and mitre too.
I’ve returned somewhat to social media, though my presence on Facebook and Twitter will be a bit more limited from now on. For most of my readers this won’t be a problem but for the 1 or 2 of you who follow me on one or both sites don’t fret; I’ll still be around in some fashion for a while.
Still, I feel like I’m becoming steadily more ascetic. During my time away I spent a good bit of time studying, praying, serving in the mass, and generally living in a quasi-monastic way that felt strangely satisfying. I used far less cannabis (I still find it useful to treat my sleep paralysis but I was actually enjoying being sober for once), I tried not to worry myself with more grim updates from the news or anything like that, and I tried to put more effort into contemplation and focus than I normally do.
Also… I don’t know quite how to explain my reasons for thinking so without delving into details about my published work, but I now suspect I may have lived as a monk or canon in or near Wigmore Abbey at some point. This accords strangely well to details of a book I published a few years ago though I’ve yet to have any kind of hard confirmation, only a series of circumstances that adds up rather well.
At any rate, in our sacraments (the liturgy for which is adapted from a pre-Vatican II Catholic mass), I find deep comfort and familiarity, a sense of something profoundly right, a part of myself restored. When I walked away from the church thinking I was wasting my time I found the loss of this was like having cut off a part of myself and though I tried to embrace radical politics in its place, I never really felt the same certainty or rightness there. It always felt like the narcissism of small differences was closer at hand among the anarchists and socialists I kept company with. And while I’m still fairly left-wing politically (I suppose nominally I’m a mutualist), I’m not impressed with the way ego has subverted the discourse.
But “from each according to their means to each according to their needs” is in no way contradictory to an authentic Christian life; indeed if one considers Acts 2:44-46 and Mark 10:21-25, it should be imperative for Christians to live that way. But we don’t need the state looming over us to force that upon us; we should do it of our own free will or not at all. I will live these ideals with or without the political labels and bickering and infighting and everyone accusing each other of being a fed that I saw on the organized left. I don’t care about trying to save politics any more because I’m more concerned with living the best life I know how.