Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seeing and Believing

Father Robert Barron is a Theology Professor at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, in Mundelein, Illinois. He is a teacher, speaker, and prolific author. One of his texts is entitled, And now I See. It is a text that examines the theology of transformation. To be sure our history with God is one of Conversion and Discipleship. There is notably an ongoing need of conversion away from Sin, and closer to the love of God. Father Barron looks at this journey from the perspective of scripture, spiritual writers, literature, and in our sacramental theology.

In the Gospels Those that 'see' and understand Jesus, are the sick, sinful, and outsiders. In the Barron book, Father Barron uses an example from Father Thomas Merton, a Cistercian Monk, to describe that interior disposition in which conversion occurs. Merton reflects that as monks there is very little to call their own since all things are in common. In the monastery the monks do not seek power or prestige. The gift of humility and becoming lowly allows one to seek the more important values and virtues in one's life.

When we talk about people with addictions, we understand that healing cannot begin until they realize their emptiness. Perhaps this is why the Gospels are so adamant about embracing the cross, and living within the mystery of the passion, death, and resurrection. When I was in college there was an elderly priest that would sit with my friends and I at lunch. While I knew he was a professor of scripture at the college, it was years later that I discovered he was a noted scholar of St. Paul's letters. One could not tell this by his demeanor.

When we are not "full of ourselves," we are better able recognize what is lacking and where we are empty. Even some of the great science fiction as in Star Wars and Superman understand this and convey this in their stories. There is the story of a man walking along a beach who comes across a monk. He asks the monk how he might be holy. The monk walks him into the water, and thrusts him into the sea, holding him underwater. After a few seconds the monk lifts the man up. "When you desire God as much as you desire to breathe, then you will begin your journey of holiness."

May God fill up what is lacking in our life.

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