Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

The End of Ender’s Game

In Catholic, Christianity on November 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

“I believe . . . in the Communion of Saints.”  This statement in The Apostles’ Creed, professed by most Protestant bodies as well as the Catholic Church, is the end of Ender’s Game for the Christian.

If you are not familiar with the book, Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. A young man named Ender Wiggins is, without realizing it, being trained to defend the world against invasion.  Leaving the story line  and violence aside for now (though they deserve discussion in another forum), Ender’s utter aloneness is the overriding impression one is left with throughout the book.  The demands of training to defend the planet are extraordinary.  Summarized:  “Every level gets harder, and there is no one who can help.”

How often do we feel like this in our own lives?  Simply getting through school, or making a living, or doing a good job of rearing children, or dealing with a serious illness—or growing in holiness—often seems a Herculean (if not Sisyphean) task.  “Every level gets harder, and there is no one who can help.”

I was feeling that way recently, when I picked up my Catechism for another purpose. Its pages fell open to Paragraph 1474:

The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.

That’s the end of Ender’s Game for the Christian, particularly for the Catholic Christian, who understands to the fullest extent possible the role the Communion of Saints actually plays in the believer’s life. Certainly, this takes nothing away from the work and intercession of our Lord and Saviour, who ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).  But in God’s wisdom and mercy, He has also surrounded us by brothers and sisters—alive on earth and in eternity—as helpers on our journey and aids to attaining holiness.  We can ask the prayers of “all the angels and saints,” whom we entreat during communal confession during the Liturgy.

You and I are not alone! It’s the end of Ender’s Game and his aloneness. That is just one of the many blessings of living Christianity Richly!

Beginning Again

In Christianity on November 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Re-starting regular posts to one’s blog is not unlike re-starting our walk with Christ. When we fall, the tendency is to stay down; to quit; to give it up, because the effort was difficult.

September and October were difficult months, in terms of schedule, for my family and me. We had numerous travel obligations (California, Washington DC), as well as a major renovation going on that affected our living quarters and home office. Regardless how frequently I thought about Christianity Richly—the richness of God’s mercy often prompted those thoughts—the opportunities to post were limited.

Zechariah 4:10 cautions us against those who are scornful of small beginnings. That has some application, perhaps, to re-starting regular posts to this blog.  Today is my day of small beginnings. But the principle applies much more broadly.  Don’t make the mistake of “despising the day of small things,” as another English translation renders the verse. Don’t despise the day of small things in your life, nor be scornful of small beginnings in the lives of others.

Some time ago I read a quotation for which I did not note the source (if a reader of Christianity Richly knows the source, I’d be grateful), but I penned the quotation at the top of my prayer journal:  “The Saints arrived at their destination one day at a time.” God is faithful to support us in striving for Christlikeness; for holiness.  “The One who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Do today’s activities seem inconsequential to you?  Does the next step you need to take toward holiness seem ordinary—almost too small or too mechanical to be worth making the effort? Never!  Remember the torrential rain, after Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:44-45) began from a cloud “as small as a man’s hand.”

So, let’s get up.  Get going!  Let none of us be scornful of small beginnings; the day of small things. May God shower upon us the will, the strength, and the encouragement to move forward; to take the next step, even if it is a small one, in our Christian lives. Together, let’s begin again.