his life didn't look like that

I'm feeling pretty good today. It was warm and sunny on my walk to the student center this morning. And tonight I'm making pizza, which is always a big hit; sixty pieces are usually gone in no time. Also, a couple days ago I got an encouraging letter from the Mahoneys. They even suggested I might come for a visit sometime soon, which offers the hope I was really needing right then.

They also sent an old Catholic Worker article about a retreat they had at the house in New York years ago. It sounded really good. I can't imagine having something like that here; the group spirit just doesn't seem enough to pull it off. Accounts like that make me wonder if we're doing something wrong. If maybe the volunteers could have a better spirit and so lift the guests to be better themselves, instead of the reverse.

Then I read Marc Ellis's A Year at the Catholic Worker this morning. It describes life at the New York CW in the mid-70s, when Dorothy Day was still there. And he doesn't sugar coat it. All the dirtiness, pettiness, hoarding, drunkenness, verbal abuse and violence are there. Much the same that we face, but considerably worse in severity.

I suppose this manner of life can be justified (even beatified) from some point of view, maybe an ascetic spirituality or isolated focus on certain gospel passages, like Matthew 25. But reading about those experiences, and matching them with my own, raises serious questions about whether this is really the "blessed" life. And then if we compare it to Jesus' life...

Catholic Worker spirituality likes to imagine Jesus in the bread line. But can we imagine Jesus as a worker there?

I really can't. His life didn't look like that. He didn't attract the same kind of selfish people, or live mired in dirt and abusive, despairing people. The hope this raises is that there is a "blessed" life that we are called to that is blessed in reality and not just in imagination. Jesus proved that.