In our culture we have an abundance. We have so many things at our disposal that it can be hard to know what to pay attention to. Even within one of these many things we can be inundated with choices. A great example is sports: we have an abundance of choices depending on our inclination and preference. We have football, baseball, soccer, golf, ice hockey, water polo, rugby, gymnastics, swimming, archery, hiking, mountaineering, deep-sea diving, to name a few. Which do we choose to watch? Do we play or just watch? Also, there are countless words, images and music coming toward us on radio, television and the internet. How are we to make sense of all the activities and choices?
There is no question that we are overloaded and over-stimulated. We hear so many words on any given day, that we tend to switch off or tune out. This is especially true for our youth. We wonder why they tune out; they are completely overwhelmed and have to turn off the input! But it is true for all of us. It is just that we have developed coping mechanisms not terribly different than the young people. We select what we want to hear and filter our input. It is especially true for our politics and religion. So, what are we to do?
We ought to have a beginner’s mind! What is a beginner’s mind? It is when we are open to learn and eager to hear anew. Remember back when you first discovered some new concept and the penny dropped or we got an “ah-ha!” moment. That is a beginner’s mind. We are open to receiving and ready to learn. We have to be like the soil in the beautiful parable of the “Sower and the Seed,” ready to receive the seed. We are called to be ready to receive and open to learning and the word of God will do the rest within us.
Richard Rohr once said, “Most spiritual work is readying the student. Both the soil and soul have to be a bit unsettled and loosened up a bit. As long as we are too comfortable, too opinionated, too sure we have the whole truth, we’re just rocks and thorns. Anybody throwing us seed is just wasting time.”
In the Easter season, the Scripture readings each Sunday (and each weekday) are all about new seed and a beginner’s mind. All the readings come from the New Testament and in particular the Acts of the Apostles in which we hear the journey of the new disciples learning the way of Christ, the risen Lord. They were witnesses of many magnificent things but they still had to see with eyes of faith so they could truly understand what was going on. Jesus never gives up on them.
As modern-day disciples, we are called to open ourselves up to new ways of receiving God’s word. We are called to have a beginner’s mind. In order to do so, “We desperately need some disciplines to help us to know how to see and what is worth seeing, and what we don’t need to see.” The only way I believe we can do this is to become men and women of prayer. I know you hear me say that over and over again. But prayer of silence, prayer of listening to God speak to us in our everyday activities is critical to making sense of this world and live life to the fullest. Stopping at the end of each day and asking ourselves, “Where did I witness Christ today? Where did I see the hand of God?” It sounds so easy but if we don’t pause and ask ourselves, “Where?” then our culture convinces us, rather easily, that we did not in fact witness Christ at all this past day!
Hear me clearly! That is a lie! The biggest lie that is told every day! God is here. If we do not see God, it is because we are not looking with a beginner’s mind. Look again! You will see him everywhere and in all places. Once we have a beginner’s mind, then every activity, every word, and even every sport is transformed in the living presence of Christ and God’s glory. So please close each day with a prayer of silence and a beginner’s mind to see where God is today.
Speaking of activities, we are putting on another Wine & Word on Mother’s Day and I hope you will join us. It is another way to take on the beginner’s mind and see God in our daily lives. We will explore some new wines (Albariño, Rose and Pinot Noir) and chat about a beginner’s mind of seeing God in our families especially our mothers. It is only $100 and $30 goes to help those in need. Come and join us for a spectacular evening of fun with wine and word. Sign up here.
Also, earlier in the week, I sent a special email about the 60th/65th anniversary celebration next weekend especially joining Bishop Oscar Cantu to celebrate Mass at 5pm, Saturday, April 24. Register here for Mass. Please join us for the celebrations and please financially support our day as this is a replacement for our auction fundraiser.