Friday, January 12, 2007

Reality junkies and Ordinary Time

A fellow seminarian told me of how his friend's daughter, annoyed at her mother's Catholicism yelled at her insultingly "OH you're such a reality junkie!"

This apparent insult is actually a deep compliment to those who desire to live out their Catholic faith.
Hearing this story lead me on quite a deep reflection. Please be patient with me, I have a powerful imagination!

So here I go: Can any of our readers imagine a crucified Buddha?
Please, I am not being disrespectful to Our Blessed Lord or, indeed, any buddhist reader here.
There is, however, a point to this. So what is it?

We live in a world which seeks to escape reality. Today there is nothing so popular as spiritual experiences with New Age practices. How many of us have heard of young adults of around 21 years of age back-packing in Asia and seeking spirituality in buddhist monasteries.

What does all this mean? And more importantly, what has a "crucifed buddha" got to do with anything?

Buddha, buddhism and New Age practices seek to provide a person with an escape. At best we can describe them as "Spiritual nihilisms". Indeed, Buddhism is classified as a non theistic religion. Essentially it is atheistic.

These new practices are very popular with westerners. They provide an escape from the ordinary and suffering in particular. In fact Buddhism teaches that Enlightenment or nirvana comes with the cessation of suffering.

It all sounds very attractive. But Catholicism is radically different. We preach a God incarnate who lived out the ordinary, whos uffered and was crucified and actually died.

When we compare these two paths we see two truths. The first: It is quite impossible to imagine a crucified Buddha, especially when we undesrtand these major differences.

Suffering is the path that Christ chose. Why? Because it is OUR path. Ordinary life consists in joys and sorrows. For many sorrow is a daily occurence. But our God knows it all and He transforms us through. He makes us like Him.

So we must rejoice at being reality junkies. We must rejoice now that we are in Ordinary time since God shares Himself with us in the Ordinary. In this way we will help others who are truly searching for the True answer. In our world full of escapist attitudes we must not escape but embrace reality. Only through reality do we find our deep true and lasting joy: Jesus Christ!
God bless

1 comment:

Az said...

I wouldn't lump Buddhism with New Age practices, and I doubt the Dalai Lama would either. And neither does the term spiritual nihilism quite hit the mark.

Despair not. The CTS has published an excellent pamphlet on Buddhism and Christianity by the Buddhist scholar Paul Williams, who was a practicing Buddhist for over twenty years, before he "poped" in 2000. I say "poped", since he was baptised as a child. He has also published an account of his conversion, entitled 'The Unexpected Way'. I can assure you, Williams is quite "orthodox" (he has appeared on EWTN)if you like labels, although pope Benedict, della Chiesa, not Ratzinger,did say that "there is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." (Encyclical Letter 'Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum', 1914.