Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back, Going Forward

I was really surprised the other day when someone mentioned that this was the end of the decade; it doesn't seem possible that it has been ten years since all the worries associated with "Y2K". As I thought about how much things have changed in the last 10 years, I was thinking about how I should be surprised at where I am in this journey of mine. Never, ever, would I have guessed I'd be where I am today, first, still working in Minnesota and second back in graduate school, at a Catholic/Benedictine University studying theology no less! What is curious as I look back is that I tend to be pretty goal oriented, I had planned on being in job X, in place Y, in year ABCD. I certainly have had the opportunity to do that, and I am grateful for that, but when that time came something told me to wait. Had I followed that goal, I certainly wouldn't be where I am on this journey, that's pretty obvious, we all make similar decisions in life. But this does represent a rather abrupt departure from my previous goals. Thinking about this, I've come to the conclusion that at some point I started paying attention. When one starts paying attention, when they are no longer thinking in terms of "self" is when things really start changing. When we pay attention we have to take into consideration all that surrounds us, the people, and places that have been given to us. We have to think in terms of what is good for all, not just our "self". In terms of Benedictine spirituality this is directly related to humility and obedience, we listen carefully, and prayerfully, to God in our own hearts. What I find fascinating is how well the Benedictines and John Wesley mesh in this regard. Consider John Wesley's Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

So, with that I leave you with the hope that in the new year you'll take the time to pay attention to the people and the places that matter most in your life, that you'll listen for God's voice and seek an understanding of what God is saying.

Peace be with you,