Weekend Encounter Reflection
I think we all have a fundamental desire to be spiritual, but it is often hard to find the time, in our busy and fast paced, demanding lives, to pursue this. The Passionist Youth Weekend however, gave us this opportunity, as well as a chance to take a step back, retreat, relax, and re-evaluate our lives.
There are plenty of youth-focused charismatic movements, but something that particularly distinguishes the Passionists is not only that charismatic and convicted sense of faith, but a balancing and very ordinary sense of reality. There is, after all, no point in being spiritual if we can’t apply that to our lives and simply be genuine people in an ordinary & everyday sense.
This understanding was reflected throughout the focus of the weekend, where Brian shared his insights into cosmology, and its relevance to our modern world and modern faith. This integration of science and religion offers such a refreshing perspective, and a welcoming change from the typical opposition and conflict of these ideas, for indeed science supports the essential concepts of religion, and enhances our sense of spirituality. For, while many people preoccupy themselves searching for miracles in their lives and for proof of God’s existence, the unfolding of the universe and its precise and delicate balance and development is the greatest miracle we could imagine.
The story of the universe and this delicate balance also illustrates an interconnectedness that exists within this world. The environment is not simply a collection of resources subject to our use and exploitation; it is our home and family, and a source of spirituality and insight. We are connected not just to those around us but to our natural environment, which offers a pure and wholesome fulfillment, but also creates an obligation to protect the earth and maintain the natural balance. And in our modern world, often tainted with superficiality, instant gratification and consumerism, it is all too easy to lose touch with nature and lose sight of that spirituality. Therefore we must take the time to appreciate and protect our natural environment and all God’s blessings, and give ourselves the chance to contemplate and reflect. “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.” (Karl Rahner)
Brian also used the story of the universe to address pain and suffering. Throughout the many naturally-occurring examples of sacrifice and recreation, as in that of the supernova which creates thousands of new stars through self destruction, we can see that such destruction and suffering lead to only transformation and beauty. Similarly, emptiness is not nothing, but the potential for something, for creation, for growth, change and transformation. It all works out miraculously, and therefore we should have faith. People might say that faith is simply hiding a fear of the unknown, however I believe it is faith which embraces that fear of the unknown, and invites us to let go, as Paul of the Cross did, to fully become a part of this sacred miracle of life.
As young and modern Christians, I think we are called to have faith, be mystics, and embrace the fear of the unknown and the suffering of destruction, in pursuit of transformation and fulfillment.