march to maturity

Jul 30, 2014

It is already mid-week, but there is a verse from last Sunday’s second reading that moved me when I heard it at Mass, and it has stayed with me as a deeply encouraging mantra. St. Paul writes:

“Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God.”    (Romans 8:28-30)

How easy it is to forget this reality.

It is true that there is much that happens in a week that has the ability to derail my inner (and therefore outer) peace, but few of these things are still bothering me in a week or two. Perhaps I make myself vulnerable by giving people and projects the power to cause me to forget the most important thing: the fact that whatever happens, even the things that I label “bad,” are able to be used by God for my good and for my growth.

Forty years ago an Italian priest spoke of this in a powerful address calling Catholics to grow up to full maturity. He said:

Perhaps it is useful to remember that in the life of those He calls, God never lets anything happen unless it serves for the growth and maturation of those He has called. The Long March to Maturity, Luigi Giussani

In fact we already know this from our own experience. While I hope and pray that only good things happen to me, and that I am always surrounded only by the people I like and who like me, such moments of bliss are all too rare.  More often we are struggling with the burden of bills, family demands and uncertain futures. In our own experience we also know that some of our past personal most difficult moments, opened the doors to the most satisfying experiences and the most beautiful friendships.

Both St. Paul and Don Giussani, along with many other great teachers, remind us to in the midst of all of this: don’t worry since we are never alone. We are being carried in the loving embrace of God. We fall into the trap of thinking that we prefer life to be peaceful, but healthy people do not put comfort and tranquility at the top of their life’s priority list. We are more likely to name love or intimacy as our number one priority, and these ultimate experiences are most often found in the midst of, and as a consequence of, our most difficult moments.

A life lived in love always involves a journey that is anything but comfortable…its much better than comfortable, it is life, really living, and such abundant existence, whatever the cost, is the greatest desire of the mature person.

 

1 Comment

  1. This is mature understanding that connects with the parable of the wheat and the tares. If we lived in a perfect world, we’d probably remain as infants, for we grow through tension. It seems that God regularly empties us so that He can fill us with something greater. Some of these times of transition are painful and we need to companion each other. I thank God for the people who have brought light to my darkness, laughter to my sadness, and love to my emptiness.

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