A recent post, 96% of Ordinary People Know That Modern Art is Crap and Artists Are Pompous Narcissists, reminded me of the simple fact that every field is self-preservative. That is to say, of course art professors are going to say that people need to be educated, and need to be “woken up,” or something to that effect. They’re art professors and gallery owners! If people don’t need their art, who will buy it? And then there goes the nice condo in downtown Manhattan, and hello burger-flipping job.
Like the sun which shines on all alike, vainglory beams on every occupation. What I mean is this. I fast, and turn vainglorious. I stop fasting so that I will draw no attention to myself, and I become vainglorious over my prudence. I dress well or badly, and I am vainglorious in either case. I talk or hold my peace, and each time I am defeated. No matter how I shed this prickly thing, a spike remains to stand up against me.
From introspection and multiple external confirmations, I know that I’ve become a lot mellower as I’ve gotten older. I’m not quite the reformer/revolutionary I was when I graduated high school twelve years ago. Nor do I have the temper I once had. I’ve even surprised myself, friends, and loved ones by taking on the role of peace-maker, diplomat, or arbitrator. I’m beginning to realize, though, that I rarely fill such a role unless I lack a stake in the matter at hand. When I do, it’s clear that I still have a lot of mellowing to do.
Sometimes I feel as though my emotions are volcanic in nature. Aside from the occasional tremor, I maintain a relatively calm exterior. Deep down, though, I’m really a very angry person; the red hot magma is still bubbling and flowing. It’s come close to breaking out of its rocky shell, but somehow enough heat and pressure are vented off that the volcano remains intact another day. Someday, though…
Some recent unpleasant interactions between Christians have been weighing on my conscience. As I sat in eucharistic adoration this morning, I asked God what I should have done/be doing. Just before leaving the chapel, I prayed morning prayer of the divine office and the scripture reading was this:
“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:29-32
I think God wanted me to remind myself and others of this teaching. While I’m on the subject, I’ll throw in the following for good measure.
“[T]he whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.” – Galatians 5:15,25-26
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