Life's Interruptions as a Means of Grace: an Advent meditation by Ron Rolheiser
|Illustration by Richard J. Watson from Ruth Bell Graham's book, One Wintry Night|
(It has been a while since I've posted two blog posts in one week. But I've just read another lovely Advent meditation and wanted to share it as an additional resource for folks like myself, who are trying to make the best of this often harried, less than holy peaceful season. Ron Rolheiser is a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. He is the author of, among other books, Spirituality for a Restless Culture; The Holy Longing; Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist; Secularity and the Gospel: Being Missionary to our own Children; Prayer: Our Deepest Longing; and Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity. In the essay below, Rolheiser offers a brief reflection on the way in which life's interruptions, along with the host of domestic chores that characterize our lives, can become a means of grace for us, rather than an obstacle to grace. It's a timely reminder for me, as someone who is frequently bent out of shape by the interruption of my carefully planned schedules. I'm grateful to my friend Steven Purcell for introducing me to Rolheiser, who at times feels like the Catholic Richard Foster.)
Ron Rolheiser, Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas, "Life's Interruptions"
In a biography of C.S. Lewis, A. N. Wilson describes how Lewis’ life was, during virtually all of his productive years interrupted by the demands of his adoptive mother who made him do all the shopping in the household, laments this fact in his diaries and suggests that Lewis could have been much more prolific had he not been forced to spend countless hours doing domestic chores. Lewis himself, however, gives a different assessment.
Far from being resentful about these interruptions, he’s grateful and suggests that it was precisely these domestic demands that kept him in touch with life in a way that other Oxford dons were not. Wilson agrees. He suggests that it was precisely because of these interruptions which kept Lewis’ feet squarely on the ground, that Lewis was able to have such empathic insights into the everyday human condition.
We, too, must look for the hand of God in our interruptions. These often appear as a conspiracy of accidents but through them God guides and tutors us. If we were totally in control of our own agendas, if we could simply plan and execute our lives according to our own dreams with no unwanted demands I fear that many of us would slowly and subtly become selfish.
C. S. Lewis once said that we’ll spend most of eternity thanking God for those prayers he didn’t answer. I suspect we’ll also spend a good part of eternity thanking God for those interruptions that derailed our plans.
|José y Maria," by Everett Patterson|
|Flight into Egypt 2 (Jim Janknegt)|