We are forlorn like children … I believe we are lost.

Erich Maria Remarque, in All Quiet on the Western Front

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Jesus speaks often of loss.  Lost sheep, lost coin, lost brother, lost son, lost people.

Have you ever considered the wisdom of seeing yourself as being (at least in part) lost for at least a good chunk of your life? 

Last night I watched a portion of Catholic Martin Scorsese’s The Departed – a movie about life in Boston and the workings of its Irish Mob and the police who sought to shut them down.  The film was steeped in the ethos of the working class, Irish American life, Catholic life, neighborhood, family and in particular the question of identity.

The main character is Billy Costigan, Jr., a product of a poor working class Irish family and its neighborhood.

Hoping to earn his way and his honor through his work, he becomes a State Police Officer. He sought his identity in this.

Yet, he is assigned as an undercover police officer in the very dangerous Irish Mob. Intent on establishing his new and clean and distinguished identity – he is sunk deeply in the dark, homicidal quadrant of it.  Seeking an honorable identity – he is immersed in what he sought to escape.

The movie is a story of identity – much as our life is a story of identity.

At the end of this very engaging film, undercover agent Billy Costigan, Jr., having lived a double life came to see that the criminal gang he penetrated, at great personal risk and disorientation, had placed its own spy within the State Police unit that was tasked with chasing the Irish Mob and its members.

Ironic as it may seem, Costigan’s efforts at securing his identity through membership in an “honorable” institution and his own personal efforts had failed. The truth?  We are more than what man hath made or what each of us can do on our own efforts.

Indeed when Costigan was offered commendation for his work, he says simply – “I just want my identity back.” 

Costigan.  Scripture.  Jesus.  Coins.  Sheep.  Sons.  Brothers.  People.

Seeking your identity is critical to your health and wellbeing. Yet your identity is not derived from an institution, man’s definition, our own personal efforts – but from The One who made you, called you into being.  

Are you lost?  Have you been?

Shalom.

Postscript – How revealing is it that we see the Hollywood Mensa Crew assemble for their Oscar awards.  Here are the folks that never fail to provide Leftist and secular criticism for the dubious benefit of the rest of us – yet, they couldn’t even name the correct winner of the “Best Picture” Oscar.  Something as simple as reading from a card – and they screwed it up. Take advise from them?  I don’t think so.

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