Posted by Eileen
In the first stage of spirituality, many of us run from God.
In the second stage of spirituality we seek God, but often in unlikely places.
In the third stage of spirituality, we discover God.
In the fourth we discover, develop and use our gifts mostly or at least partly for the glory of God. (No one has absolutely pure motives.)
In the fifth stage we gradually move into empowering others, at least partly for their sake and the glory of God.
And in the sixth stage, we are called to let go and become open to the Spirit working through others.
Jesus tells his disciples in John 16:7, ” Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Jesus accepts His dying, so others may live and grow.”
And in Philippians Paul says it this way, “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
The paradox is that if we don’t recognize and value our gifts, we cannot die to them. But even those of us, who are late bloomers, will find it very difficult to let go, once we discover our gifts.
But, just as Jesus had to die to His power to heal, teach, feed, and spread the Good News, we too are called to follow Him through the cross of dying to self, dying to that which we value most about ourselves, so that “we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.”
Some of the concrete challenges different ones of us may face:
As a physical action oriented person, finding purpose in life from a wheel chair or a hospital bed.
If our gifts are intellectual, accepting the exhaustion and drudgery of being a full time caregiver.
If we are a change agent by personality, sitting helplessly day after day at the foot of the cross of a loved one dying by inches with Alzheimer’s.
In his later years the intellectually gifted spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, chose to live in a community of the mentally handicapped, learning to hear and experience the love of God through them.
The humility, that comes from being emptied of our very selves, frees us to hear God through the simple, the uneducated, the young, the old, the failures, the handicapped, the foreigner, the stranger, the ill, the poor.
Until we recognize that we are all amateurs at becoming fully human, we will miss the voice of God all around us.