A Christmas Wish
Sometimes I wonder if it would be a bother to God if I made out a Christmas wish list. What is it that I really want? What is it that God, or maybe even the universe, wishes to give to me? Is it possible that the gift is being held out to me and I am missing it?
Deep abiding, everyday peace would be a welcome gift. The same would be true of non-worry and quiet trust. Incidentally, it has been said that most of the important things of life usually turn out quite well without a whole lot of worry from us.
Recently, I overheard a conversation in which one party commented on the value of myths and stories, including the familiar accounts of the Christmas narrative. "Don't myths and stories tell us about life, how to live it, as well as the purpose and meaning of life?" mused one of them. The other responded, "I feel that, more than wishing to know the purpose of life, most people really yearn for the experience of being fully alive." For myself, I would like to have both. The experience of being fully alive would be a wonderful Christmas gift.
Being Fully Alive
As I write, I wonder if the experience of being fully alive is akin to the experience of God. Are such moments a brush with the Divine? Jesuit Karl Rahner states that the experience of self and the experience of God are a unity.1
Here at the monastery, we often refer to the "Rainmaker" story. Although there are variations, one rendition goes somewhat like the following. A village was in dire need of rain. As a consequence, the people called in a rainmaker. Upon entering the village, the rainmaker quietly entered a little hut and remained there for three days. When the rainmaker opened the door of the hut, it began to rain. Of course everyone was quite ecstatic. The villagers asked to know the rainmaker's secret. It was explained that upon entering the village, the rainmaker sensed a spirit of disunity and lack of love among the people who lived there. So the rainmaker stepped aside to be alone, and prayed that love and unity would find a home in the rainmaker's own heart. And when love and unity came, so did the rain.
A Surrendered Heart
Having thought about it, this Christmas I plan to ask for a little hut and a surrendered heart. There, in solitude, I plan to pray for peace and joy and a spirit of harmony in my own being. I shall also pray for undying hope and optimism. Somehow, when I open the door and look out, I just know that I will see snow.
1Karl Rahner, The Content of Faith, (New York: Crossroad, 1992), p.222.Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D