A Good Place To Begin

March 22, 2015 at 10:19 am

“Progress can be hard to recognize…the only thing that matters is the direction that I am moving.”

“Keep adding little by little and soon you will have a big hoard.”  – Latin proverb

Courage to Change March 16.

I sometimes wonder if I have grown spiritually at all over the decades.  There is some risk that I may have regressed.  Similarly, I am not sure that I have developed additional flexibility doing yoga. Neither can I jog as far or as fast as I used to do.  Admittedly I have not been consistent with respect to either activity over the past year or so.  Work and discipline are required.   Even when one practices regularly, one soon reaches a plateau and then progress is hard to perceive.  We can hope that our progress looks like a jagged arrow  with peaks and  valleys yet pointed up towards the northeast or towards the 2 on a clock.

“You can cultivate love, compassion, joy, and equanimity by learning to relax where you are.   There is no problem with being where you are right now.  Even if you are feeling love for only one sentient being that is a good place to start.”   –Pema Chodrun

So we should keep the faith.  When I went to Mass a week ago, there was a college student in front of me wearing a tee shirt that expressed a similar thought:

You are where the Lord wants you right now.

Right now.  In this place.  A good spot to begin.  Even in this moment, as we live and move and are grounded in God,  God is communicating to us.

Reveal Yourself to us O Lord.

May we not be preoccupied with ourselves or with work.

May we not be threatened or afraid.

May we accept and follow your way

and put love in our day.

Rex Pai compares  this journey to the Wise Men who followed a star until it brought them to Christ:

“To follow the star is quite challenging.  We have to leave home ( the place where we are secure and comfortable)…”  Perhaps home is simply our everyday mind sets and world view that does not allow God space?

“…and strike out into the unknown (‘Leave the seed that you have sown.  Leave the crops that you have grown. Leave the people that you have known.  Come follow me’)…”

Is it time to shift directions?  It may or may not be.    It is easier to follow the physical principle of momentum and keep going the same direction that we have always gone.  Hang with the same people.   We may have created a safe and secure environment that comforts us in the face of the GREAT UNKNOWNS AND UNCERTAINTIES  that all humans face but try to control.    It is a question of discerning.

“We have to be prepared to face inhospitable deserts and stormy winds that accompany any human quest….Prayer gives us desire to constantly look for the star (Christ) in our lives; it clarifies the Star and helps us recognize the true Star from the many twinkling and alluring lights around us; it gives us the strength to follow…through ups and downs, difficulties and obstacles; it brings real joy, gratitude, love and peace….”

A great vision.   The Fourth Sunday of Lent’s readings proclaim that  a Light  has come into the world, but many of us prefer the darkness to the Light.  The Jesuit presider at the liturgy stated that Jesus is the Light because his thoughts, desires, drives all aligned with God’s will for him.  Are ours?  For example, the many alluring lights of materialism or hedonism have quite an attraction in our Western world and easily distract us or send us down a lesser path.

As Paul states in Ephesians, we are called to be the work of God’s hands.  We are God’s handicraft.  A bold statement to make.   Paul encourages us to put aside our sense of weakness or unworthiness and step into the truth . The creation story of Genesis 1 also affirms this truth by stating that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  What does that mean?  That we are creative like God?  That we are the pinnacle of creation because of a self-awareness, ability to reflect, or possess a higher consciousness than the animal and plant world?   Or  that we are the stewards and caretakers of the created world?   Perhaps that we can love as God loves?

We are called to be the Light.  God is within as well as without.  Let us  “ Let Go and Let God” and then as the Gospel of John states  we will live the Truth and not cling to darkness but  to the Light and our works will clearly be done in God.

May our work be God’s work beginning with where we are today.