(Jonathan Ryan posting for Jen Schlameuss-Perry.)
I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern. If I was going to be a superhero, that’s what I’d want to be. Also, the Lanterns remind me of the Catholic Church—they choose people from among the community and assign them to care for the people in that place, they have councils and a hierarchy, they make fabulously horrible mistakes with galactic repercussions and, ultimately, their objective is to bring justice and peace.
I like the Green Lanterns in particular because their thing is Will. The Will is one of the most amazing attributes of humanity. We are each given our own, we’re free to use it as we like, and when we use it the right way, it makes us more divine. Will is the strongest aspect of my faith. I’m not a real “feely” person, so for me, faith isn’t about warm fuzzies. I don’t spend a lot of time with God feeling. I do a lot of being bossy in my prayer time; telling God what I need, what my friends need, and asking Him to help me make good choices. Feelings can be misleading and sometimes misplaced. I prefer what I can see, comprehend and manipulate (not in a bad way). I try to be attentive to other people’s feelings by listening carefully, but my approach has a tendency to be a little clinical. So, my faith is mostly an act of the will.
I mentioned in a blog a couple of weeks ago that, at my new parish, I met a guy who was telling me about the Blue Lanterns. They are all about Hope. Hope is great, if you have it. I think of it (maybe wrongly) as being in the realm of feelings—because you feel hope, right? I believe in God. I believe what the Church teaches. I have seen evidence of the truth in them, so it’s not hard for me. I also have faith—I trust that God will do what God has promised. And I dohave some hope—I couldn’t be a Christian without it. It’s kind of a quiet, constant whisper but it has a tendency to take a back seat to my deliberately choosing to match my will to God’s. But, we’re all a work in progress, aren’t we? And God’s been working on me overtime.
I was given a Green Lantern car magnet for Mother’s Day. I put it next to my Darth Vadar decal. It looked great for a while, but over the past couple of weeks the thing faded. It’s blue now. I was going to take it off of my car, but it seems to have coincided with a change in my attitude…or, maybe my awareness. There is a principle in Taoism called the “wu wei.” Allow me to oversimplify and probably totally misinterpret it for you…it’s the idea that a quiet, reflective peace can be very powerful. Like water—even a very gently running stream, which seems to be making no impact on the items around it, cleanses, erodes, and shapes the bank. That’s what hope is like for me. It’s that underlying peace that I have a habit of overlooking, but it really does shape my will and my use of it. I’m still a Green Lantern fan first. But, I’ll leave the Blue on my car to honor the need for both.