Sunday, 1 February 2015

The booklet that changed me

I spent some time working with Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism's Youth mission team. We'd visit secondary schools in order to share the great news of Jesus Christ in a variety of ways (our witness of life was probably primary to many people coming to be open to the message). We'd have assemblies each day which featured an array of skits, singing and sharing. Each day someone would share a part of their faith journey with the young people to situate the gospel in the reality of life - people don't argue with experience in the same way one might be closed off to formal instruction and apologetics. I shared a version of what I would often say on this blog some time ago, which can be read here.

I want to add an addition to that story. I talked about how I encountered God in the Lord's prayer, but what I didn't point out was the relationship between the head and the heart in that experience. You see, I had had discussions breaking down the petitions of the prayer in the parish catechesis and so what was striking me wasn't some mystical revelation from heaven - it was a transitioning from a mental agreement to the interesting depth of the text to a faith-filled fiat to all that God is. There was a little booklet that acted as a bookend to this moment. (You can read it at the excellent; I've just downloaded it to my kindle for use when I have time to do it justice). I had found it lying around on one of the bookcases at home, and read it out of interest and to keep ahead of the game with confirmation group! But I read it again shortly after, and it added so much more depth. Now, my heart was already convicted of the Truth but it was my head that had to be open to new directions. The founder of Sion Community is quoted as saying something to the effect of, 'the journey from the head to the heart is the longest journey we'll ever make, but the journey from the heart to the head is often even longer still'. These elements of knowledge certainly so seem to sometimes occur in separate moments (and sometimes simultaneously) and I don't see this as an issue at all. We are human persons and we're complicated and divided and sometimes we resist the truth that we know. We need to be open to the truth - but that means keeping both heart and head ready to receive and teaching the other centre, far too often it seems spirituality focuses on the 'heart knowledge' as if the mind were evil and holds us from God. But Jesus is the logos, the Word, the Truth - God is supremely rational.

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