Thursday, July 19, 2012

Joy in the Ordinariness of Life

Our current educational system prepares us primarily for center stage performances, according to a priest writing in the pages of With Bible. He believes that the education on what to do if you don't make the stage, or come down from the stage, is not part of the curriculum.

Jesus tells us to be servants; according to many people, a very strange logic. We have plenty of teachings by Jesus on this but the one that includes them all is the washing of the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. With our weaknesses, failures and frustrations, we prepare a place for Jesus and in this emptiness is the fullness that lifts us up.

The writer tells us that his own life  was not one of grandeur but of frustrations. The family was not wealthy and he went through the hell of college entrance exams. Before entering the religious life, he spent eight years working for a weekly paycheck, and even after entering the religious life the frustrations continued. He felt he had no special talents, had difficulty with his studies and  learning a new language in a foreign country. He was like everybody else. Frustrations, weaknesses, failures; the darkness made him easily accept his ordinariness and to finally give thanks for it. Jesus repaid him with his abundance and consolation.

"Some day I will have success. Life, begins with nine innings and two outs. It is difficult, but happiness some day will come." This kind of talk is also not about weakness, he says, but the way of getting to center stage. Our success comes after death; it comes in the glory of resurrection. It is not the glory without death, scars, darkness, and pain. Without this understanding of the cross, we do not have a Christian spirituality. Both Judaism and Islam both believe in God but do not have the cross.

We feel a great fullness when we consider Jesus' empty tomb. If the disciples did not find it empty, they would have despaired. "Lord just give me your love and that will be everything" (Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, #234).

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