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Friday, March 25, 2011

Afternoon session

Larry's afternoon talk seemed to underscore what Fr.Richard Rohr stated in his article the link to which I posted here a few days ago.

Namely, we are called to be spiritual seekers, not settlers. This underlies Jesus saying in Matthew's gospel, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

We are never to feel spiritually full and content, as if we have attained all truth and all happiness. It is this longing, this hunger that urges us to "seek first the kingdom of heaven." Notice we don't necessarily find the kingdom. Jesus tells the young scholar, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." He gives no indication where to look or go next, for Jesus does not want to short-circuit the process, for the value is in the seeking more than the finding.

Larry related a time when Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez visited the Knoll in the 1980s and spoke of his poverty: getting his teeth fixed for free so he could respect the gift God gave him to speak on behalf of his people. Gustavo knew he could not truly be poor, nor could Maryknollers be poor. "Do not use the poor to make yourselves feel good," he said to Maryknollers with his hand out, not in accusation but in solidarity.

Our mission vocation is built on a lack. We lack family and stability and "roots" so we can feel the lack most people experience. Yet over the years we tended to fill our lack with achievements, how many churches we built or have many baptisms we performed.

The radical call of the missioner is to rediscover his total dependence on God.

The message of our current American society is one of instant gratification, which is anethema and detrimental to authentic spirituality.

The Sisters at Monrovia, Larry said, are in that in-between space being too old to remain overseas, yet not sick enough to go to their nursing facility. Larry found among them an appreciation for the situation they are in, although if they had their preferences, they'd be elsewhere. It is this acceptance of the limitations that gives them freedom.

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