Today’s reflection is available either as an 8 minute podcast, or as text below.
Our human experience teaches us that nothing on earth can fully satisfy us. We are always looking for something more, seeking whatever will make us into the “who” we dream of being, usually a dull photocopy of stereotypical human successes reflected in people who have power, possessions and status.
Life on earth is often described as a journey and the image rings true for us. In our more trying moments we feel like directionless wanderers, tossed about by every demand and desire. On our better days we might be pilgrims with a clearer road and a worthwhile destination.
Something inside us struggles to accept that nothing on earth can satisfy us. To deal with our need for satisfaction we set achievable goals that provide some direction, and when we reach a goal we enjoy a few hours satisfaction before we re-programme ourselves towards another destination.
But in our more insightful moments we glimpse the truth: we are simply chasing mirages. We need to spend time with others who have at least glimpsed this truth.
Our problem is that while we know we need a goal to give our life direction and motivation, we make the mistake of settling for artificial and fickle goals that are powerless to deliver what they promise.
Once again it’s that great Pope Francis quotation in which he suggests that the current pandemic could be reminding us of something
“[This coronavirus] storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anaesthetise us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.
“In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters. (full text at this link)
“Our belonging as brothers and sisters.”
In fact the only reason for reading FFF is that you are aware of your need for something more, and as Jesus reminds his followers after the resurrection they need to “find the others”. We Christians need company and conversation with others who are, like us, seeking Christ.
Notice the shift that happens in the friends of Jesus as word of his resurrection spreads:
From being ALONE & UNHAPPY: Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside…
To ENCOUNTERING JESUS AS THE ONE…she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’… Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master.
Then MEETING WITH OTHERS …Jesus said to her,… But go and find the others
Every day I receive messages and emails from FFF readers who find “virtual” companionship through these reflections.
I have been thinking that something similar might be easy for us to organise as a little FFF initiative.
Here’s my idea.
- Decide that you (and maybe someone else ) are going to have a cuppa or a drink at a cafe, a bar or a food-court in a mall sometime this week.
- Click on the FFF cross image below and print a copy.
- Let me know (by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) where you are going to be, what time and day you will be there, and your first name. I will add this list each day on the FFF posts, inviting anyone who wants to join you to just turn up and look for the FFF cross on your table.
- Turn up at the place at the time appointed and put the cross on the table so that other FFF readers can find you.
- Talk with whoever turns up about your life and your faith.
That’s all there is to it. Try it!
If no one turns up, you have a few relaxing moments with your own good company and a book. But if someone does turn up… well, Christ has brought you together and we all look forward to hearing a comment or two about your conversation.
I have no doubt that Jesus will work miracles of support and companionship for those who are prepared to “go find the others.”
Click on the cross below to enlarge it, then print to place on your cafe or bar table as an invitation to others.