Monday, July 9, 2012

Pascal's Dice

I think I must have accidentally deleted the original of this, published July 4, so here is a copy.

A week to go before profession. I feel centered. I don't know what the rest of my life will hold, but I feel assured that I am called to live in this community according to the Rule of St. Benedict. In the words of the psalmist, "I am confident and unafraid."

Being confident and unafraid is not the same as being unaware. I walk towards July 11 still in the understanding that I am choosing to do this freely, and in the knowledge that I could be getting it wrong. I don't mean getting it wrong at the level of making a mistake about doing what's best for me, but getting it wrong at the deeper level about the primacy of the search for ultimate meaning.

There are certain authors who write something which speaks to me profoundly, and however often I read it or think about what they wrote, it gives me a renewed sense of rightness, of having hit a primal truth. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French Catholic writer, philosopher, physicist and mathematician is one of these. In the Pensees, he speaks of how human beings are faced with a choice: to believe in God or not. Either God exists or God does not exist: there is no middle road. He likens our choice to a game of dice. The game is in play. You must bet, for or against God and, when you've placed your bet, everything, EVERYTHING hangs on the roll of the dice. That sums up how I feel at this moment. I am staking my whole life, for God, on the roll of the dice. I have no guarantees about the outcome. I am reaching for Infinite  but, because I am not infinite, I am always reaching forward into mystery and darkness. I am standing on the edge of a cliff and I understand I'm launching myself into darkness. To my great surprise, I don't feel anxious, I don't feel uncertain. On the contrary, I feel completely calm. The moment is at hand when I shall say a universal "YES!"

My resolve is firm, but it is also a great comfort to have the prayers of friends. I'd like to ask those of you who have been accompanying me on my journey to pray for me in these next days. You might be surprised at how large and diverse our "blog community" is. I have been. There have been over 3,000 hits since I started writing in January, coming from 36 countries across the globe. Thanks to all of you for listening and sharing my journey.

By the way, it might be Thursday next week (July 12) when I publish the last in the series. I think July 11 is going to be rather full ... of grace, I hope!

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