I Was One Way
I have really enjoyed watching "The Chosen" tv show. The whole experience, from acting, to set design, to discrete sidestepping of ecumenical landmines, has been deeply satisfying. A balm to my soul which has been rubbed raw by election coverage, and war updates, and the general irritation of post modern life.
Except one part. One scene early on in the series, when Mary Magdalene, healed from demonic possession and sexual trauma and alcoholism and madness shyly shares her story with Nicodemus.
Her declaration, "I was one way, and now I'm completely different. And the thing that happened in between was Him," hit me right in the center of my heart.
Can I say that for myself? Can I say that my pilgrimage with Christ has made me completely different? Is who I am now a new creation, strikingly different from who I was before? If the answer to these questions is "no", if I can't picture myself like Mary Magdalene, amazedly relating my Christ encounter to someone equally amazed by my transformation, did it happen?
The question has really bothered me. I don't see any change in me. The Cari here today feels the same as the Cari pre-conversion. Sure, some of my politics have changed. I certainly have more children. Halloween is a lot more fun to celebrate. But are these markers of conversion? Would someone stop me in the marketplace baffled and astounded by the changes in my life? Most importantly, would those changes in me make them want to encounter Christ themselves?
I feel more selfish, more self-absorbed, possessing a flimsy, paper faith. I want my life to be something that draws people to Christ. I want to step aside so He can shine through, but all I feel is me, me, me.
How grateful I am for Advent. A time set aside, set apart, set up for just this thing. I think about Our Lady, a tiny human who held the Divine within her. How is such a thing even possible? How did she not fly apart back into the stardust and ash she was made of, even attempting to let God so fully into her soul?
But that's it, isn't it? Just as a woman's body is designed to hold a growing baby, so are our souls designed to be filled with God. What we need to do is to look at everything within that is taking up space properly reserved for Jesus. Instead of feeling selfish, instead of feeling self-absorbed, Advent is a sacred time for me to look at the selfish things in my soul and ask Christ to heal them. This space at the end of the year, when darkness gathers earlier and earlier, and quiet forms everywhere like frost, this is where I can meet God once again and show Him my darkness and ask for it to be flooded with His light.
I can go into Advent one way, and come out completely different. And the thing that happens in between will be Him.
I have not finished all the episodes, but I am intrigued.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It’s exactly the examination of conscience that I needed this Advent season. 😊