“With what measure ye mete,” someone once said, “it shall be measured to you again.” I certainly hope that’s true, but empirical verification seems to be lacking. I’m looking at, with the full armor of irony, a postcard from Nashotah House. Those of you who’ve long read my posts (I know who both of you are!) will know my history with said sacred institution. No, it’s not with me that they stay in touch, but my wife. You see, she’s one of those women who kept her maiden name, so in the eyes of many at the sacerdotal school we were probably never properly married. They certainly never came out to wave goodbye. Anyway, this past year they’ve begun corresponding with my spouse. I can’t remember—did I ever teach there for a decade and a half? So what are these sweet nothings they’re sending?
The card in front of me informs me that they’ve been praying for my spouse. Don’t get me wrong—she’s married to me and she needs all the help she can get—I never begrudge anyone’s prayers. I also can’t help exegeting a bit. Occupational hazard. One of my students once told me “don’t exit Jesus from your exegesis.” And they tell me I have no practical experience in the real world! So I’m looking at this prayer card wondering whose autograph it is. A man wants to know who’s praying for his wife. More than that, it appears that the name was scribbled out and written again. Did someone pray for those in the outer darkness by mistake? Heaven forfend! Alas, for my meting days seem to be about done. I must have a measuring tape around here somewhere.
That same guy whom I’ve quoted above also said, “pray for them which despitefully use you,” which I suppose might be some good advice. I understand that one-percenters and their ilk couldn’t be where they are despite using you. You just can’t help it—if something is inconvenient, you can simply toss it away. Build a tower to the heavens—what can be more biblical than that? See, words are endlessly flexible. They can be twisted and turned and made to say whatever you want them to mean. And should it ever come to meting cups, there are some recipes that might call for more than a wafer and a sip of wine. This is probably all obscure, but I’m trying to read by candlelight, and this text seems to say “when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee” and “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” But how will anybody send you money if you don’t let them know?