Tuesday was for Thomas and Wednesday was for Bourne

Thomas Merton amazes me. Really, he does. The timeless capacity of his ideas to connect with the real world some 40 years after he wrote is amazing. This week I have been going back and forth over this one writing that I came across. It’s simple, and yet profound. Its honest and somehow deeply truthful. It reads as follows:
‘I believe I have the right and the duty to try to go on to a more pure and simple and primitive form of life. I believe that I have the right to appeal to a higher superior for permission to make this trial. I can ask and wait and see what happens. On the one hand, I have to be really sincere about looking for a simpler poorer, more solitary life, more abandoned to Providence. On the other hand, there are still things that enter into this and spoil this: desire of liberty, desire to be out from under a stupid form of authority, desire to travel-to go to a more beautiful and primitive country. All these things are there, unfortunately, and they are strong.
The one thing necessary is a true interior and spiritual life, true growth, on my own, in depth, in a new direction. Whatever new direction God opens up for me. My job is to press forward, to grown interiorly, to pray, to break away from attachements and to defy fears, to grow in faith, which has its own solitude, to seek an entirely new perspective and a new dimension in my life. To open up new horizons at any cost. To let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. But really to desire to know and love God more fully, and to let the Holy Spirit do the rest.’

I am Jason Bourne…
Last night Laura, Leslie, and myself went and saw the ‘Bourne Ultimatum‘. (REFLECTIONS WHICH MIGHT BE A SPOILER TO COME) It was a good action Bourne flick which didn’t disappoint. As the movie neared its end and we began to get the details of who made Jason Bourne, Jason Bourne, it was somewhat amazing to me how it got turned around. For three years, Jason has been trying to find out who took his life away from him, who made him into this machine, and who erased his memory of himself and who he had been previously..his dreams, his passions, his life, his name.
The twist is this: who made Jason Bourne, Jason Bourne? Jason Bourne’s original self (David Webb) did. He is the one who so desired to be a part of the program he joined- this elite force for ‘good’ of his people (and all) which would give direction and passion and training and equipping for the rest of his life. But once he had died to the man he was, once he was out there doing what he had been trained to do, once he was in the thick of things, he began to struggle with the reality of becoming whom his self-sacrifice, submission to the institution, and training had made him. What he thought had been missions for good, didn’t always seem that way to the person inside. The person he really was. The team he had thought he was fighting for seemed just as tainted and bass ackwards and flawed as the enemies he sought to militantly convert to the way of good for which he stood. And then, there were his memories. Why could he not remember the names of the people he had conquered, only thier faces in his head? And why, did he not care about peoples’ past or future lives; only that he completed his mission with them as he was trained to do? It was almost as if none of that had mattered..just what he had for them?
Yes, Bourne Ultimatum is a good movie. But it does make you reflect on why you are who you are. It made me reflect on my own expression of faith and Christianity and mission. It made ask the question, ‘who is joshua case and who made him who he is today’? For good and for bad. And maybe more importantly: ‘is who I really am, lined up with the missions I am on? The missions I take? Does it all fit together? Or am I, are you, just doing what you’ve been trained to do as the person you died to become?’
Ouch…tough for me!
Well, I hope i didn’t spoil the movie. But i do hope when you see it, you’ll reflect back here. And if you’ve seen it, reflect here, I’d love to hear if you had the same experience with the ending.
gracefully…
joshua