Solidarity with the World
Friday, June 1, 2018
Following Jesus is not a “salvation scheme” or a means of creating social order as much as it is a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world. Some people are overly invested in religious ceremonies, rituals, and rules about naming who’s in and who’s out. They love to protect boundaries. Jesus did not come to create a spiritual elite or an exclusionary system. He invited people to “follow” him by personally bearing the mystery of human death and divine resurrection.
Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, both the good and the bad of history, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves—these are the followers of Jesus (Philippians 3:10-12). They are the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world. The cross is the dramatic image of what it takes to be such a usable one for God.
A saint is one who somehow voluntarily chooses to trust the daily paradox of life and death as the two sides of everything. We, too, can walk this path of welcoming disappointment and self-doubt, by “suffering” the full truth of reality. Our vocation is a willingness to hold—and transform—the dark side of things instead of reacting against them, denying them, or projecting our anxiety elsewhere. Without such a willingness to hold the very real tension of paradox, most lives end in negativity, blaming, or cynicism. Holding does not necessarily mean fully reconciling. It is indeed a “suffering” of reality which implies some degree of patience, humility, and forgiveness.
We do not have to do this to make God love us. That is already taken care of. We do it to love God back and to love what God loves and how God loves!
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1999, 2003), 179-180; and
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 22-23.