Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death–
even death on a cross.
Phillippians 2: 5-8
As our Lenten journey reaches its conclusion, we are drawn into Jesus’ passion for us and for his fulfilling of his Father’s will. As we said in last week’s reflection, Jesus has become an “empty vessel” in and through which Abba’s total love for humankind can be ultimately manifest. Jesus becomes “obedient to the point of death” and so reveals in the starkest of terms the imponderable love of God. During these weeks, we have been invited to attend to and growingly abide in our “central wish,” that is the depth of our uniqueness that comes from God’s love for us and is God’s way of uniquely loving the world through us. As Holy Week begins we are reminded that living in and from our unique call and mission will require of us participation in the passion of Jesus, which is the passion of God.
Dante’s Divine Comedy concludes with his extraordinary description of beatitude for the human person:
But then my mind was struck by light that flashed
and, with this light, received what it had asked.
Here force failed my high fantasy; but my
desire and will were moved already–like
a wheel revolving uniformly–by
the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.
Paradiso. XXXIII, 140-145, trans. Allen Mandelbaum
We live our “central wish” when our desire and will are moved uniformly by the Love that is the source of all that is. In the course of these weeks, we have reflected on when we have experienced this consonance of life, the expression of our will and desire in an action that was at one with “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” And by reflection on the scriptures which the Church offers us during this season, we also called to mind times in our lives when, in retrospect, we discovered when we were acting and speaking in ways that were disoriented from a passionate living out of our “central wish”. We are formed more and more into what is meant to be our unique participation in the love of God for us by the human experience of trial and error. As Adrian van Kaam has pointed out: “We come to know our unique life call through the experience of having violated it.” Perhaps our honest and humble reflection of this Lenten season has helped us to recognize some of the aspects of our life patterns and habits that serve our living out of our deepest call and other habits that inhibit that obedient and faithful wholeness.
The Fundamental Principles call us to:
Stand ready to answer
if you are available for God
to become more present in your life
and through you to the world.
As we conclude our Lenten reflections, let us stand ready to respond to those moments when God longs to become more present in our lives and through us to the world.
As a result of the previous weeks reflections, what habits and ways of being have I discovered that tend to inhibit my full presence to God in prayer and to the persons, situations, and events of my daily life?
What specific practices have I discovered that can help me to discipline those deformative tendencies and serve the greater flow of my own “central wish”? What can I reasonably and congenially build into my everyday life that will create greater possibility of my living passionately my unique call and mission to the world?
How can I incorporate a few of these practices into my daily life, Can I then begin to develop a “personal rule of life” that disposes me, by little and by little, to empty myself of those ways of being that are betrayals of my call. Can these practices help me to increase those dispositions of heart that make me more available for God and as an instrument in my daily interactions of “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars”?