I am a little surprised how hard the robbery has been on me. I don´t want vengeance and I don´t plan on leaving. I may seek a new place to live unless the security is improved. But it´s been more of a spiritual test.
Thursday night Father Efrain came over. I thought we were going to talk about some work in CARITAS and Dulce Nombre, but it was reqlly a pastoral visit - and a great help. At one point he spoke of how the devil puts obstacles in our way when we´re doing good work.
I think in the past I´ve not seen this or believed it. But more recently I am beginning to think that Satan - the Hinderer - does act in this way. Not only does the theft of my computer make me feel depressed, closes me off from others, and makes me feel helpless and useless - but it also hinders the work of CARITAS as well as the work of my ministry in Dulce Nombre and in the Catholic University.
I really feel numb and don´t really know what to do. The one option is to spend mopre to recuperate my possessions (viz., buy a new computer) - money I have but not in abundance.
There have been other more personal ways that it seems that the devil - the diabolos, the one who throws things against us - ssems to have been trying to undermine my work.
No. I´ve not become a raving lunatic in this. St. Ignatius of Loyola´s Spiritual Exercises and Dean Brackley´s book speak of the"evil spirits". Even the liberal theologian Walter Wink speaks of the principalities and powers and I also think that the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder spoek of them.
But in all this I find that I´m being called to trust more in God´s providence, to throw myself into the arms of the Lord.
And, yet in all this, God has been good. There have been any number of people who have been helpful as well as many who´ve been sympathetic.
And then there´s the clincher. I don´t know how many times I´ve been in a situation and happened to pick up a book that really helped. And so it happened again.
While waiting for the poilcie to arrive at the house Thrusday morning (about an hour late), I picked up Henri Nouwen´s With Burning Hearts.
He speaks of five steps from recsentment to gratitude, the first of which is "mourning our losses".
That´s where I´ve been - feeling lost and having lost important things, things that in a sense helped me establish my identity, or at least my work.
And so I still wonder if this is a way God is offering me an opportunity to strip down even more.
The second step is discerning the presence of God, who reveals our sadness "as part of a larger sadness in which joy was hidden."
As Nouwen writes (p. 42): "You have been complaining about your losses, not realizing that these losses are there to enable you to receive the gift of life."
And then Thursday´s lectionary reading from Hebrews 10:32-39 spoke to me. The author is speaking to a persecuted church who "endured a hard struggle with sufferings," who "cheerfully accepted the plundering of [their] possessions." My loss was merely the result of a robbery, but others suffer because of their faith and their commitment to Christ and the poor.
But the reading advises us: "Do not abandon - throw away - your confidence....You need endurance to do the will of God.
But the last verse is a clincher¨¨We are not among those who shrink back...¨ What a temptation it has been to shrink back, to pull back from everything.
But "We are among those who have faith,¨ those who place their confidene in a God who loves us and was not afraid to sufffer with us.
One last quote from Nouwen (p. 27):
To grieve is to allow our losses to tear apart feelings of security and safety and lead us to the painful truth of our brokenness.