The Lectio Letter - Issue #72 - A Deeper Christian Maturity - Part 4
“Becoming like Jesus is as much as about having a relaxed and joyful heart as it is about believing and doing the right thing, as much about proper energy (or motivation) as about proper truth.”
― Ronald Rolheiser
“One of our deepest struggles in life is dealing with the unconscious anxiety inside of us that pressures us to try to give ourselves significance and immortality. There is always the inchoate gnawing: do something to guarantee that something of your life will last. It is this propensity that tempts us to try to find meaning and significance through success and accumulation. But in the end it does not work, irrespective of how great our successes have been.”
― Ronald Rolheiser
“Nikos Kazantzakis shares a conversation he once had with an old monk named Father Makários. Sitting with the saintly old man, Kazantzakis asked him: “Do you still wrestle with the devil, Father Makários?” The old monk reflected for a while and then replied: “Not any longer, my child. I have grown old now, and he has grown old with me. He doesn’t have the strength.… I wrestle with God.” “With God!” exclaimed the astonished young writer. “And you hope to win?” “I hope to lose, my child,” replied the old ascetic.”
― Ronald Rolheiser
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In the first article of this series, we began by exploring how we search for pathways towards Christian maturity. The second began a series of reflections on what Christian maturity might look like by reflecting on the first three of ten attributes writer Ronald Rolheiser mentions in his book, Sacred Fire.
The first three were;
Live in gratitude and thank your Creator by enjoying your life.
Be willing to carry an increasing amount of life's complexities with empathy.
Transform jealousy, anger, bitterness and hatred rather than giving them back in kind.
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The second three were;
Let suffering soften your heart rather than harden your soul.
Forgive your own sins, the unfairness of life, and those who hurt you.
Bless more and curse less
The final four, I’m unpacking today are:
Live in a more radical sobriety
Pray for yourself, for others, and live your prayers
Be wide in your embrace
Stand where you are supposed to be standing and let God provide the rest
These final four phrases which are Rolheiser’s signposts to Christian maturity can be summarised by the virtues; Honesty, Discipline, Hospitality and Fidelity.
While each of those virtues stated abstractly might be something you’d be able to select on a multiple choice quiz testing whether you can identify qualities of Christlikeness, the day-to-day struggle to live these out and resist the related vices make all the difference to whether our lives witness faithfully to Jesus of Nazareth. It’s this process of practically living virtues out that Rolheiser so helpfully unpacks.
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