‘None of us are welcome on our own terms in the Church’ – this is a statement for the ages. I personally find it, not a harsh or unkind formulation, but actually something that thrills me and moves my heart.
I’m not sure why this is so. Perhaps it is because it has been many, many years since I realized that my own terms were so narrow and poor, tangled and twisted, that I would be much better off living on Jesus’ terms for the rest of my life.
All I can say is that my experience, which is far from complete, has been that as I simply forget about ‘my own terms’ – my ideas, my self-concept, my likes, my deepest convictions even – and throw myself into the arms and heart of Jesus, completely accept what the Gospel and what the Church teaches me about Jesus and about life, my life becomes richer, more beautiful, more joyous, more peaceful. More. Simply more.
Life is a perpetual surrender of the fortress of the self into the sweet captivity of the Lord, which is true freedom. Life is a perpetual collapse of our defenses, the dissolving of our lines of resistance, the white flag going up, the glum acceptance of our defeat at the hands of our Adversary—only to discover that He is the great captain of the liberating army come to cast down all tyranny from our souls forever.