Caprice

Playa Hermosa

When I was a Sophomore in high school, I had a religion teacher who was known to be kind of odd. Mr. Thomas Carter, or Tom Cat, as we often called him, could be rather accusatory, a low-level of vicious, used his very own “Mr. Carter logic” when trying to explain things, and didn’t put up with anything but the absolute best from each individual person. This was actually (and yes, I did see this at the time) a good thing. There were not many people who would defend the Catholic Church to a bunch of 16-year-olds and we needed someone who could hold their ground as all the difficult questions were relentlessly thrown at the poor man. I think he understood that I saw the purpose in what he was doing and my interest in the church, and he frequently took care to personally challenge me in class with words and concepts no second-year high-schooler could have known. One day, he threw this at us: “Thank goodness we are not under the reign of a capricious God”.

Capricious? None of us had even heard that word. I was the only one who bothered to ask what it was, and Mr. Carter pulled out a Merriam-Webster dictionary from the 70’s to find me the definition. It was defined as “Susceptible to sudden change in mood or behavior”, or something of the sort. He would quiz me on the meaning of this word on a somewhat-daily basis until I had it down.

But the idea that we are not held accountable by a capricious God, and thank goodness for that, goes just a little bit further: We belong to a God that does not micro-manage our lives. This is incredibly freeing. Imagine the strain felt by someone who for whatever reason has it in mind that each and every action they take can make-or-break God’s extraordinary plan for us. This, in some way, is quite selfish: Who am I to ruin God’s plan? Is he not way bigger than that? It is also rather intimidating. To struggle over the most simple choices in our everyday lives is to live bound up away from the possibility of a true relationship with the Lord. However, this is not to say that we shouldn’t pay attention to what it is that God is calling us to do. Does God really care about whether I eat pineapple or a banana for breakfast today? Truly, I don’t know, but for now, I do know that He and I have larger things to tackle.

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