Brian’s Reflection: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something.
It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.
Mary Lou Retton, the first American woman to win an
Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics, Los Angeles, 1984
I think Mary Lou’s right about the “fire in our hearts for something”. I think what that fire is is to Become Ourself. It may indeed be that we all have a “passion” to accomplish some unique goal or to accomplish some unique deed. But those are but symbols … signs of the ultimate longing to know and live out who we Are. I deeply believe that this is ‘God’s Plan’ for us.
There is a force working against the achievement of that goal. It is a kind of spiritual entropy. To put it another way, it is what I would call a “low doctrine” of what it is to be Human. And may I be bold to say that this “low doctrine” lies at the heart of a certain persistent Christian (as well as other) theology … and to me most obnoxious in the pervasive theology of the 1928 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer … one which thank God I missed, having joined the Order of the Holy Cross in 1967 when they had begun to use the new liturgical forms then just published by the Episcopal Church in preparation for what was to become the BCP 1979.
The 1928 BCP had us groveling before God, beating our breasts as sinners, proclaiming our “unworthiness to gather up the crumbs under Thy table” like cringing dogs … even as we were supposedly in the midst of the Community of the Redeemed. The 1979 BCP was to yank us out of that wallowing in sin, reminding us in that felicitous and theologically sound understanding that God has made us “worthy to stand before you”. We were reminded that our “passion” is to be one with God … for which Jesus so powerfully prayed, and in that Unity to act as one with God in Love.
The goal to which Mary Lou points is the passion to be One with God, in Her love, Compassion, Mercy, and Justice … to be a living flame of that Oneness. After all, “passion” derives from the Latin root ‘to suffer with’ … reminding us, as does Jesus’ Passion, that the fire in our hearts is to be in loving solidarity with all our sisters and brothers in the Godly path of Love.
The “fire” is the same for us all … though each of us will manifest it in our own way.
May each of us find it, and keep it lit.