Minute Meditations

Compassion in Times of Transition

Living in a transitional age is scary: It’s falling apart, it’s unknowable, it doesn’t cohere, it doesn’t make sense, it’s all mystery again, and we can’t put order in it. Yet there is little in the biblical revelation that ever promised us an ordered universe. The whole Bible is about meeting God in the actual, in the incarnate moment, in the scandal of particularity, and not in educated theories—so much so that it is rather amazing that we ever tried to codify and control the whole thing. The Bible seems to always be saying that this life is indeed a journey, a journey always initiated and concluded by God, and a journey of transformation much more than mere education about anything. We would sooner have textbooks, I think. Then the journey would remain a spectator sport. The transformation model risks people knowing and sharing “the One Spirit that was given us all to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). So sad that we have preferred conformity and group loyalty over real change! But chaos often precedes great creativity. Darkness creates the desire for light. Faith actually precedes great leaps into new knowledge. That’s the good news. Our uncertainty is the doorway into mystery, the doorway into surrender, the path to God that Jesus called “faith.” I’m seeing people of great faith today, people of the Big Truth, who love the church but are no longer on bended knee before an idol. They don’t need to worship the institution; neither do they need to throw it out and react against it. This is a great advance in human maturity. We are slowly discovering what many of us are calling the Third Way, neither fight nor flight, but the way of compassionate knowing.

— from The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder by Richard Rohr, OFM



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