How to Win at Quidditch by Trying Really Hard.

JMJ

The Readings for Saturday 1 Advent (Year 2):
Erunt oculi tui videntes præceptorem tuum. Et aures tuæ audient verbum post tergum monentis: Hæc est via; ambulate in ea, et non declinetis neque ad dexteram, neque ad sinistram.
With your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left.
In the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch is the Wizarding World’s version of Football. It’s terribly exciting and, although I have no desire at all to imagine a group of snarky, self-satisfied differently-evolved string pullers behind the scenes (it’s how a whole generation learned to hate baskets of deplorable, merely human muggles), Quidditch is something I wish I could see. Flying brooms, goals, a boundless playing field, and multiple pathways to victory. There’s only one way to win, of course: get the most points. But there are so many ways to get points. Yes, grabbing the tiny gold ball might win the game for you – but not if the other team has more points. But that catch always ends the game. But who wins?

We will see our Teacher before us and hear a voice directing us. When the heart is ready, the teacher will come, or so say one or another group of American  new age folks (OK, Rick Springfield). What should we do when the teacher is here?

Patience.

I’m constantly running, looking for the right place (which is always over there, never here). So What do we do when the teacher is here?

There will be a voice behind you, saying “This is the way. Walk in it.”

Here’s a couple of different options: one is very popular among Christians of all stripes just now. In this pattern everything is there, the perfect vocation, the perfect spouse, the perfect choices. God has a plan for your life. Your job is simply to discern the right choices and make them. God has awesome laid out for you. This is the way; walk in it.”

There’s this other option: in this one the way is the way of Salvation. You have to end the game saved. How you play the game is up to you, though. Will you try for ordination? Will you get married? Will you struggle as single? Will the end come in a career path in tech? Is pilgrimage your route? Will the end of the game be the retirement villa or homelessness?

What if the path is only the way of the Cross?

Thomas Merton was prepping to enter the Franciscan Order. He was quite convinced that he should: they’d let him teach college, he’d have a home, and three squares, and he’d go to mass and pray. In fact, he was already teaching at the Franciscan College. He’ just have to move wings in the dorm.

But several hours away by train there was this Trappist monastery that called out to him. He’d have to give all that up, all the set up, all the easy change… and actually do something.

In the end Merton’s choice was driven by the realization that the Franciscan path was too easy, that it required no sacrifice to do it.  If God wanted him to give up everything, he couldn’t do it by holding most things in reserve.

So he ditched it all. And thus became the great spiritual teacher we know today. What a blessing it was for all the world that he decided to simply walk the way of the Cross. It “triggered” all of his Charisms, it made all his gifts manifest. That decision: I will give up everything, made him who God called him to be.  Note: he didn’t wrestle with the ideas of that last thing. That last thing just happened.

The teacher is before us (Christ, hanging on the Cross) and there is a voice that says, “here’s the path, walk in it.” It only goes to one place: Christ on the Cross.  There’s only one way to win, of course: get the most points. But there are so many ways to get points. This path, though, only goes to the firey end of all our lives.

When you die, will you have been saved?

Author: Huw Richardson

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He has worked in tech (mostly) since 1999 and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.