The sky is trying to rain—it really is. The monsoon season ostensibly has started (it’s past the 4th of July,) and heavy clouds cover the earth. Nights are warm, the air heavy with humidity (relatively speaking anyway, not like Houston!) But it has not rained. What we call “The Wall,” a slope on the eastern side of the house that we planted in bulbs, is dry. The cattle tanks on the prairie below us are full of dust. It’s trying to rain but is having a hard time actually doing it. They say that “close enough only matters with hand grenades and horse shoes.” Intentions are essential on moral theology, but St. Bernard of Clairvaux is credited with the proverb, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The hungry starve if all they have to eat are good intentions. The cold freeze to death if all they have for warmth is good intentions. The lonely languish if all the comfort they have are good intentions. The oppressed crumble if all the freedom they know are good intentions. The promises of the Kingdom from Isaiah 611 are nothing if all they are is good intention.
If as St. Teresa of Avila said, we are Jesus’ hands and feet in the world, if those famous promises are fulfilled in him and passed on to us, unfulfilled good intentions are close, but not close enough. Body and soul must become one in intention and action, prayer must sprout feet and hands as well as words, the people of God must be the people of God before the Holy Place and after they walk out the door of their place of worship for the Kingdom to come.
The popular apathy toward religion may merely be a mirror of the apathy in religion.
1″The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” (ff)