Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Keep your eyes on the road!

One of our daughters is learning to drive.  It's a frustrating, fun, and yet dangerous time in a person's life.  You have to learn to look at the road and glance at everything else.  The mirrors have to be checked frequently, the speedometer gauged, an eye kept on the edge of the road for people coming out from hidden drives, between cars, or even just running out of a yard after a ball.  All of this while keeping your eyes on the road.  I remember when I was learning to drive that I had a huge tendency to go where I looked.   If I looked in my left mirror?  I went to the left.   If I looked at a car on the right?  I inevitably went in that direction.   It takes some getting used to in a car to be able to look without going in the direction of our gaze.

We as a people tend to do that though.   We tend to go in the direction of that which we are looking at.  It is how we are designed as a species.   In the brief few days of wrestling in High School we were taught that if you control the other persons head, their body will follow.   It never fails.  I think it works that way spiritually too.   Where your mind is, is where you end up as well.  If your mind is on things of this world?  That's where you'll stay.   If your mind however is on things of Heaven?  Then that's where you will be drawn up to. That's the beauty of the cross.   This contradictory symbol that is so rough, so distasteful... is the method by which God himself draws us into His realm.. into the true reality that is beyond what we can see with our limited vision.

The image of the bronze serpent teaches us a simple truth about God.  It reminds us that like the Israelites in the desert, Satan prowls around seeking whom he may devour.   He doesn't do it by convincing you that you are in the wrong.. rather he gets you to take your eye off the road.  With texting while driving rampant, it is even more clear how quickly something can happen with even just a glance away from where it needs to be. So it is with our spiritual lives... it only takes a moment for us to slide back to where we were.  For something to get in our way, for a stumble to occur because we aren't looking.  It's only when we keep our eyes fixed firmly on Christ, firmly on the Cross... that we can keep going on the correct path.

The thing is we are going to stumble, aren't we?   I tend to do so daily.   I forget where I need to be headed and I find myself in the desert surrounded by those silly serpents.   The key, I've found, is to immediately stop what it is I am doing.. realize that I it is only when I turn it over to God that the serpents leave me, and I fix my spiritual gaze back on the 'road.'

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."

A reflection on the readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.