From Deacon David…
Living into Wholeness
I played whiffle ball at the lake with my grandson yesterday. It is shocking how much a 13-year old can grow in a year. He has become a serious threat as a third baseman. His brother, the 15-year old wrestler in the family—now taller than his mother—is both a poet and a menace to his opponents. Growth happens! Sometimes it is visibly startling.
Growth as an adult is more subtle. We take continuing education courses. We accept a promotion. We befriend neighbors who worship on Friday or Saturday. We work through a family crisis. One way or another, we become larger and deeper by reaching into an unknown beyond our present selves. Growth like this can be largely invisible. We can see a larger house. We may not be able to see a softer heart, a deeper faith, or a larger world.
The thing is, here and there, hearts are getting harder, faith is getting shallower, and worlds are getting smaller. Meanwhile, profound compassion is saving lives everywhere, living spirituality is drawing diverse people together, and people are discovering mutual interests, surprising friendships, and complementary heritages. Life is a hoot.
But what about people who experience life as a kick in the shins, a fist in the teeth, or a knee in the gut? How do we be good neighbors to the lost, the trampled, the ignored and neglected? How do we be honest prophets to the wealthy, powerful, in-charge decision makers who call the shots that affect our lives?
What saves us from hardness of heart, skimming the surface, and shriveling up? The answer is what Fr. Rohr this week called the “initial opening of the heart or mind space from our side.” This opening first happened to me in Sunday School sixty years ago and has continued to happen when I’ve been challenged, afraid, and tempted to shut down ever since. Fr. Richard continued, “Faith is our small but necessary ‘yes’ to any new change or encounter. Such an opening or re-opening is necessary to help [us] make fresh starts or break through to new levels.”
Our challenge today is to become planetary citizens in our local places, to cease being victims of circumstance, and to accept the vocation of expansion and deepening. Though vast, our world is an intimate, life-giving neighborhood for those who expand to embrace it and deepen to love it. This is our spiritual challenge. Our souls yearn for the home coming of living into this wholeness. Silence and curiosity are the interior practices for reaching into the unknown. Human beings everywhere are rediscovering that all of us are equipped for such opening and becoming.