Fr. Terry Ryan, CSP
John 1: 35-42
January 14, 2018
We are all a “dash.” A what? Yes, if you look at the dates of when someone was born and when they died, you notice the numbers. But there is a dash between birth and death dates. That dash represents their life. We are all a dash, and are in fact living our dash right now. Whenever you become self-imploded, feel you are the center of the universe, that your plans should all come about, become angry that people ignore you and your plans, then remember you are but a dash in the lifetime of the universe. Drop your ego a peg or two.
On the other hand, once you get right-sized, there is good news. This dash of your life has always been in God, from the beginning of creation. The whole matter of the universe existed from the beginning of creation. It has been evolving ever since. At one point, the Divine Creator decided that this Divine Energy would take on human flesh, become matter, and you came into human existence. You are the light of Christ in your short lifetime. And when you die, hopefully, having evolved into all God meant you to be in your “dash,” then you return to God in an even deeper union of Love.
The Gospel, as well as Twelve Step Recovery processes reveal this pastern. In the Gospel, John the Baptist is right-sized in his ego. He has followers, yet when Jesus passes by, John points him out as the one to follow. He is OK with his entourage becoming smaller. Jesus then asks what they want. Are they looking for the “correct” dogma? A political leader to free them from secular misery? Happy times? The two disciples indicate that they simply want to relate to Jesus, spend time with him. They ask, “Where are you staying?” This is key to the spiritual journey that will transform us. We have to simply spend time with Jesus, without our agenda words or pious thoughts. Simply abide in quiet stillness and silence. Jesus invites them to do just that. “Come and see,” is his invitation. When we monks at the monastery gather in the vigil darkness, we do not bring our day planners. It is time to listen. We hear psalms read and then chant a bit, but eventually we sit quietly in the dark, in the abode of Christ and let him love on us. This will help us to right-size our plans and ego for the day. And we then invite others to come and join us in this process.
In the Twelve Step programs, addicts have been trying to squeeze happiness out of their self-centered lives by their drug and have lost control. They are searching in all the wrong places for relief much less happiness. Someone says, “Come and join us. We have a solution.” The almost suicidal addict goes to a meeting, and if they stay, abide, remain, they will be loved on unconditionally. Eventually, they will have a mentor guide through the steps that include quiet meditation. They will always be addicts, but no longer need live completely controlled by their darkness. The light of the higher power will shine through their shortcomings.
It is the same way in all spiritual journeys. We monks will always have faults, character defects, shortcomings, but the light of God’s love will shine through us onto others in the way we act in this world. You don’t have to be a monk for this to happen. It is available for all people in their daily life, one day at a time, with a mediation discipline that allows God to love on you a few minutes a day. The the ‘Dash” of your life will be the light of your Creator shining through you, inviting others who still suffer, to come onto the path. It is the manner of your living the ordinary life that attracts people. Come, and see.