I pray for the grace to turn my back to the (limiting) past and to embrace the (promising) future.
From “The Still Point: Reflections on Zen and Christian Mysticism” by William Johnston:
That detachment — which at first sight seems a cold and inhuman virtue — is in fact of primary importance for normal human development, is an ordinary finding of modern psychology. Erich Fromm tells us that detachment is something so vitally linked to human growth that it must begin at the moment of birth and proceed over one’s whole life — which, when all goes well, is nothing more than growth through a series of crises. “The aim of life,” he writes, “is to be fully born”; and he goes on to say that some people “cannot cut the umbilical cord completely, as it were; they remain symbiotically attached to mother, father, family, race, state, status, money, gods, etc.; they never emerge fully as themselves and thus they never become fully born. Here from a psychologist is a program of detachment as ruthless as that of John of the Cross; showing that the human perfection aimed at by the psychologist is not alien to the Christian perfection of the saints. Indeed, John of the Cross uses words reminiscent of those I have quoted from Fromm, for he complains that some people, retarded in their spiritual life “still think of God as little children and speak of God as little children, and feel and experience God as little children.” In other words, he wants people to get rid of children’s ideas of God and to grow up.
“Return of the Prodigal Son” etching by Rembrandt, 1636
View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
A Prayer for Growing Up at Thirty-Five
By John Shea
I am still looking
for footsteps to follow
like the phony feet
they paste on dancing room floors.
I do not want every day to arrive
like a blank page in a typewriter.
I want the clarity of a slice of moon
and the security of a lottery winner.
My soul yearns
for a turn-of-the-century Eden
with a weekday lunch at home
and jam preserves in mason jars
and naps on the swing
after baseball and beer.
I want my mind to click off
like a construction site at night,
routine without monotony,
expectation without pressure,
money without work,
love without need
and if I do not get it,
I will hold my breath
till my face turns
as blue as a circus balloon.
But over my shoulder
a chorus of heaven and earth,
finally finding a ground of agreement,
chants like marchers for a doomed cause,
“Oh grow up!”
From the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus: General Examen :
It is likewise very important to bring to the attention of those who are being examined, emphasizing it and giving it great weight in the sight of our Creator and Lord, to how great a degree it helps and profits in the spiritual life to abhor in its totality and not in part whatever the world loves and embraces, and to accept and desire with all possible energy whatever Christ our Lord has loved and embraced. Just as the men of the world who follow the world love and seek with such diligence honors, fame, and esteem for a great name on earth, as the world teaches them, so those who proceed spiritually and truly follow Christ our Lord love to clothe themselves with the same garb and uniform of their Lord because of the love and reverence owed to him, to such an extent that where there would be no offense to his Divine Majesty and imputation of sin to the neighbor, they desire to suffer injuries, false accusations, and affronts, and to be held and esteemed as fools, because of their desire to resemble and imitate in some manner our Creator and Lord Jesus Christ, by putting on his garb and uniform, since it was for our spiritual profit that he clothed himself as he did. For he gave us an example that in all things possible to us we might seek, with the aid of his grace, to imitate and follow him, since he is the way which leads men (and women) to life.
Song: “Seven Turns” by The Allman Brothers Band
Hymn: “He Who Would Valiant Be” by John Bunyan
Song: Hannah Trigwell covering Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait”