The fifth class of the Living School will soon been accepted! It is a joy to see so many committed contemplatives seeking greater engagement and depth. Our only sadness is that we will have to turn away around 400 wonderful applicants because of our own capacity limits. Surely this is evidence of the widespread desire and eagerness for wisdom from the Christian contemplation tradition and to use the contemplative mind in service of social change and justice.
Our world seems to be drowning in fear and sadness these days. We sincerely want to do our little part to reverse the engines of history toward nonviolence, earth care, and justice for all those pushed to the margins of our upwardly mobile society. That was the original intention of the Gospel.
We cannot abandon our solid and enduring foundations in the great wisdom traditions of all the world’s religions, in particular the simple revelations that Native spiritualities honor and practice. We dismissed so much ancient religion with the word “Animism,” not realizing that the word means inhabited by soul. One would think Christians would be quite ready to honor the soul of things. But we did not see the similarity with what we preferred to call Incarnationalism. By not understanding our own Christianity, we created enemies out of what should have been our spiritual friends and companions. How different history could have been! Thankfully God is always leading us into the future, and the Living School has trained many in “the cloud of forgetting” so that healing can happen.
Our 2017 Symposium and Sending just a few months ago was filled with immense excitement. Sr. Ilia Delio graced us with an overview of her scientific, Franciscan, Creation-based, and Teilhardian worldview. James Finley, Cynthia Bourgeault, our Living School staff, and I felt nothing but cosmic backup and support in her teaching!
I want to encourage the new graduates in the 2017 cohort to get involved with our Alumni association as much as you can. We do not want to lose touch with you, nor do we want you to lose touch with one another. Our staff will be offering some good possibilities in the upcoming months.
You’re no doubt familiar with my images of the container and its contents (from Falling Upward). The container is only for the sake of the contents. Your two years of formal participation in the Living School—through symposia, intensive, readings, and study—were merely an initial container of the wondrous and healing message of universal reconciliation. The rest of your life is to discover the contents, the ever deeper mystery within this container. As has been said at so many graduation and ordination ceremonies, now your real schooling begins. Your classroom is life itself, even your own life, and even our own confused times and culture. Remember, spiritual change moves from Order to Disorder to Reorder. No stopping! Onward.