“For de Lubac this means that God has built into such a nature, not a supernatural power, but a certain receptive potentiality, which is to say, a capacity to recognize that what will truly make us happy is something we cannot attain or know or even fully anticipate on our own.”
Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century
I’ve got a quiverful of children.
The Bible calls them arrows
and me lucky
and I am.
Though I’ve a pretty good view
of the target, and pull the bow
the same way every time,
bends in the air
send the one a-high
and the one a-low
and dams back in
I duck myself when they circle around.
I do practice.
But my son and my daughter
fly where they will.
Over and under but especially
under the hill,
they fly where they will.
Just out of college, I wanted to be a priest, so my diocese (Seattle) sent me to Leuven, Belgium, to study theology. It didn’t work out: I married a Dutch woman instead. We lived in Washington State for seven years before moving to Utrecht in 2001. We have two children, one born in Seattle and one in Utrecht.
In our first years in Holland I wondered how to share the two most obvious sides of myself, my being Catholic and American, with my children in a culture resistant to the missionary impulses of both the Church and Uncle Sam. Now I don’t worry about that. My children are who they are, growing up in their own way in a culture excellent in its own right. But I continue to feel the tension of displacement within myself.
Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, was originally an outpost on the edge of the Roman Empire. That’s a good metaphor for the present distance of this super secularized country from the Church of Rome. It’s hard to know how best to nurture and express one’s faith here.
As an American, too, I wonder how I fit in. American culture is at once admired and suspect. Having grown up in the West, I miss the woods, fields and mountains of my native land. Here in the house I have a room of books and photos that remind me of home (see photo on “Why this blog”). I consider it the most remote outpost of the US Forest Service. For a while I thought I’d call this blog, “Report from the Ranger Station.”