The Grace of Zacchaeus

Sometimes a writer will get in my head and articulate something that I never could.  But their words, will be my words and their feelings will be my feelings.  Heather King did that this morning in today's reflection on the tax collector, Zacchaeus.

And while following the rules isn't in and of itself the answer, once on the spiritual path, I do follow certain principles, certain rules.  I follow the rules not out of fear but out of gratitude:  for having gotten sober, for the ability to walk, see, breath; for life.  The irony is that I find when I'm on fire with gratitude, I'll not only refrain from cheating, lying, and stealing:  I'll do way more than that.  "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill," Christ said (Matthew 5:17), and I think what he meant was that I'll live in a whole different way.  I'll "waste" time, commit crazy acts of generosity, interact with all manner of extremely unpromising people.  I'll quit the job I hate and, though scared senseless, start doing the work I've wanted to do my whole life.  I'll put up with years and years of failure, reflection, poverty, because I'm doing something I believe in, that I love, I'll get out of the relationship that's killing me, over and over again, and finally, finally, FINALLY discover it wasn't the relationship, it was me, and it's not his fault, and my mother did the best she could, and it's nobody's job to make me happy, I have to do it myself, and lo and behold, it turns out, I want to do it myself; that's all I want.  I'll be like Zacchaeus, the puny publican who climbed the sycamore to get a glimpse of Jesus (Luke 19:1-10):  willing to make a fool out of myself, to be enthusiastic.

But when I'm enthusiastic, when I extend a hand to the next person, I can't do it from the level of  "I'm up here and you're down there."  I do it because I realize I need it just as much as he or she does.  I "boast of my weakness," as St. Paul did (2 Corinthians 12:9), because I can hardly believe 0 clueless and fallen as I basically still am - that I'm in even marginally good enough shape to help someone else, to be kind to someone else.

Heather's reflection is in today's Magnificat.

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