Friday, September 20, 2013

Resting in my littleness...

Today is our Sabbath - a time spent being quiet - that often includes a hike in the
woods and a relaxed dinner together.  The sun is shining in the Berkshires so we're off with the puppy to soak up the beauty. As I was sipping tea and reading the NY Times this morning, I was struck again by the resonance I feel with Pope Francesco I who recently observed: "This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all - not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people... we must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity." (For more see: world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion.html?ref=todayspaper)

In another reading this morning, Fr. Richard Rohr wrote about St. Theresa of Lisieux: Her spirituality is known as the “Little Way.” It was nothing more than a simple and clear recovery of the pure Gospel message! It was she (and Francis of Assisi!) who gave me the courage as a young man to read the Scriptures through this primary lens of littleness (and mercy) instead of some possible bigness. This changed everything. The true Gospel is a path of descent and not ascent. It is totally amazing we could miss this message given the rejection, betrayal, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus as our primary and central template for redemption. We piously thanked Jesus for doing this instead of following Jesus on the same inevitable and holy path.

This rings so true to me at this moment in my life for two reasons (at least!)  First, to honor my small or little self gives me permission to rest in God's grace and simply share mercy or compassion with others.  And second, by doing just this I am free  to use my small gifts to invite others into this rest, too.  For when I am rested - and resting - I embody trust not striving - a measure of tenderness not judgment - hope not despair. So, off we go for a quiet hike in the woods praying Psalm 131 in my heart:

 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
   my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me. 
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
   my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
   from this time on and for evermore

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