Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Chapters of our Life....

Last week there was the suggestion that each one of our lives is a Bible. Now the Bible is not ONE book, it is a LIBRARY of books. Each book was written at a unique time to tell an unique story. What is this unique story? It is the story about God dealing with humankind, and His creation. This relationship was lived out in a particular time and space. Yet, the reality of what is described has a life way beyond time and space. That which we read about in The Bible is a living description of my life today. Our lives are a continuation of The Bible story. John Shea, “We are God's story". When it comes to understanding God, we have to let go of the restraints of time and space. We are dealing with That which is beyond our control, no matter how much, or how deeply, we desire to control. We cannot define God, and so control God. In Africa, there is this saying "to define is to kill". This is a necessary, pre-requisite for a deep understanding of all things spiritual. "With God all things are possible.....with God nothing is impossible." Must be a constant mantra for each one of us, as we tell God's story by the life we lead.

The Bible is a very long story. It is the story of all human beings, their lived, real, relationship with their Creator. The means of telling the story are many and varied. In this library, we call the Bible, we read history, poetry, mythology, wisdom and theology. A whole book of prayers is given to us, as models for our prayer. Each book and sometimes books within the one book, are placed before us to meet a need. All are presented as The Source of
Encouragement and counsel. It isThe Source of information, leading to formation. Through this formation, we will then be lead to understand that formation is NOT enough. We need contemplation, so as to be led into The Mystery, lying patiently, waiting for us to discover. That Lived Life, which is beyond what we read and see will be revealed, but in Mystery's time. This time we are called to live in, is Kairos time. Many feel that this stage is the last step. How dangerous that thinking is. This way of seeing can and does lead to all sorts of unhealthy thinking and action. Contemplation, of necessity, leads us to action. "Contemplative action" is the goal of all Catholic Christians. K. Rahner has said that there will be a time where you will have only two groups left in the world, contemplatives and atheists.

"How then, are we to approach The Bible and as a consequence all spiritual reading. Henri Nouwen has written the following; “Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insights and knowledge, and mastering a new field. It can lead to degrees, diplomas and certificates. Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simple to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives. We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God's voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words......Spiritual reading is food for our souls. As we slowly let the words of the Bible or a good spiritual book enter into our minds and descend into our hearts, we become different people. The Word gradually becomes flesh in us and transforms our whole being. THUS SPIRITUAL READING IS A CONTINUING INCARNATION OF THE DIVINE WORD WITHIN US. In and through Jesus, the Christ, God became flesh long ago. In and through our reading of God's Word and our reflection on I, God becomes flesh in us now and makes us into living Christs for today. “Let us keep reading God's Word with love and great reverence"

Have you ever reflected on the library of books your life is? There is your history book, now seen as the continuation of salvation history. Your story IS God's story. What is The Wisdom book you have within which is yours because you how your God had taken the pain and challenges of life and revealed gifts beyond measure. These gifts are, in part; patience, kindness, empathy, compassion, sensitivity, the ability to understand and not stand in judgement. These gifts, I am sorry to say, can only come to us from bringing our angers and frustrations to prayer. By this action, we are surrendering, accepting defeat, accepting our inability to cope. This is NOT LOSS, this is the way it is in the spiritual life, in these moments of loss, and surrender and allow God to transform that which we definitely do not want in our lives. You have the mythology of your dreams, to take you where your reality really is. You have the book of sacred prayers written by your daily actions directed by The Holy Spirit. You have your unique theology. This theology is formed by that which has come to you through The Spirit within revealing a unique knowledge of God. In the history of the church we had what was known as the “Teaching authority of the people". Were not many of our saints declared by the people, and accepted the universal church? There is your inner authority, as well as there is the outer authority. You have The Book of Music to be shared and The Book of Poetry. Each day, event, season, has given us that song, that poem which will console, gladden the hearts of those who listen to the language of the heart. We need more "heart to heart” encounters so this journey through the "vail of tears” may be one of growth and discovery, leading to a life of Joy.

Reverence then your story, and the story it tells. In that which lies behind your life, dwells Life Itself. You are the dwelling place of Mystery.
Your life then is...???????