maturation

Jun 23, 2023

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“God never permits anything to happen unless it is for our maturity”. (Luigi Giussani)

The gospel reading assigned to today’s feast of the birth of John the Baptist concludes with an often overlooked fact: through his toddler and teenage years John the Baptist grew and his spirit matured.

It is easy to see the children we knew as babies growing over their next couple of decades through childhood and adolescence physically and intellectually. It can be more difficult to recognise their maturation of spirituality, and too often this development of the life of the heart (or soul) is overlooked.

in recent weeks I have been a part of a number of reflection weekends especially for those who were seeking something more than the simple religious practices which are such an important part of the first stages of life. As many good people enter adulthood they can feel that the forms of faith which were ideal when they were younger no longer match the complex realities of adult life.

At this point a faith-filled person can feel as though they are losing their faith when in fact all that is happening is that they are realising they can let go of their trainer wheels and enter a new stage of adult relationship with Jesus Christ who is God-with-us.

Rather than being the sign of a loss of faith, this realisation that a present way of believing and living is not sufficient, is evidence that a person is ready for a more adult, mature, robust and adventure-filled experience of faith, lived in the midst of the diverse and complex array of circumstances that are a normal part of healthy adult life.

While I’m invited to share a thought or two at these weekends I receive much more encouragement and challenge for my own growth from people who might see themselves as living on faith (or church) peripheries, but who are fully immersed in the complex circumstances where faith really thrives, the reality of family. relationship work, social, financial and health challenges.

In recent weeks in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as the Philippines (which I wrote about earlier in the week), many people have shared their experience of Jesus Christ present and active in the daily ups and downs of their lives.

These people are my teachers, and I am grateful.

If you would like me to visit your parish or community for a retreat or some formation sessions contact me – john@fff.org.nz. I have some availability to visit from September through to March 2024.

You might appreciate one participant’s reflection on the recent Sydney gathering. Click on the link below.

 

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Fr John for this great inside into spiritual development! Your analogy with the trainer wheels certainly makes the point.

    Reply
    • I was thinking along your train of thoughts. Lovely to know others of likened minds .

      Reply

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