TEXTS FOR REFLECTION
1. “Teaching the need to be free and unfettered, (Chuang Tzu) realised that the only freedom worth having is the freedom which results from perfect harmony with that power or principle which lies at the heart of all that is and which he called TAO.” (D. Howard Smith, Ae Wisdom ofthe Taoists, New Directions, 1980, 9)
2. “What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, fiffffiermore, we had to teach the despairing men that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Lif@ ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.” (Vikior Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning, Touchstone Book, 1962, 76)
3. “It is precisely when people cannot fall apart and recover, that they enter a condition in which most of their energy is spent holding themselves together in one piece, while a crippling spiritual and emotional corrosion goes on underneath.” (Fredeiic F. Flach, Choices: Coping Creatively With Personal Change, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1977, 47)
4. “Because our lives and memories are so short we think that what has been going on for the past ten to fifteen years is the way it has got to be.” (David Suzuki cited in Phil Noyee, “Lessons From A Japanese Canadian”, In the Future, 4 (Feb/Mar, 1989), 9)
5. “Whether 1 am a child or an adult, a simple person or a hero, a prisoner or a free citizen, 1 am always a potentiality for transcendence in many ways. If 1 were to ‘freeze myself into one mold by repression of the aspiration to transcend what 1 currently an4 1 would die to authentic living. The most sordid crime against our humanity is to destroy what we basically are: transcendent selves. ” (Adrian van Kaam, Ae Transcendent Self Dimension Books, 1979, 167f.)
6. “God and humanity are like ~ lovers who have rffissed their rendezvous. Each is there before the time, but each at a different place, and they wait, and wait, and wait. He stands motionless, nailed to the spot for the whole of time. She is distraught and impatient. But alas for her if she gets tired and goes away. …. Ale eueffixion of Christ is the image of the fixity of God. God is attention without distraction. One must iniitate the patience and humility of God.” (Simone Weil, “‘Me Things of the World” in G. A. Panichas (ed.) The Simone Weil Reader, David McKay Company Inc., 1977, 424f.)
7. “In 1961, and certainly all through the 1950’s there was, to be sure, a certain malaise in American Protestantism. It was limited to relatively small circles within the churches. …. The situation could not be more different today. Mainhne Protestantism is marked by a widespread demoralisation that has been called a general failure of nerve. Its expressions range from masochistic self-laceration to hysterical defensiveness. …. ne Catholics, who back in 1961, still seemed to be sitting pretty on the rock of Peter, are now looking for plausible lifeboats with the rest of us. …. Christians, like other men are creatures of habit. …. I ~ that many in our churches today can be described as being in search of a culture with which to identify.” (Peter Berger, Facing Up To Modernity, Penguin, 1979, 227f.)
8. “The fact that the Church exists and lives within a true history also means that she cannot free herself from time, from its burdens and its dullness, and from the delays that it imposes. It is not in spite of time and its unfolding, but in them that the Church carries the gifts of God and puts them into practice. History and the action of people in time, and through the means usually employed by them, are not, for the work that God pursues in and through the Church, an extrinsic element, or even a hostile one, which should be reduced as much as possible, forgotten or oven eliminated; nor is it an external framework within which a non-terrestrial scenario wdl develop. It is rather that in which and through which a divine enterprise is realised.” (Yves Congar, nis Church that 1 Love, Dimension Books, 1969, 89-90)
9. “Yes, but where is God in the silence and darkness, in the laboured beatings of the heart? Where is the idea of God in this uttennost emptiness? Perhaps after all the ultimate truth is not light and goodness but darkness and horror? Surely this terrible happening, this extreme anguish of the poor naked hiunan spirit is proof that there is no God at all or that if there is he is without care of me? ‘All thy billows and thy waves have passed over me …. The water compassed me about even to the soul … the bars of the earth have shut me up for evee. So spoke Jonas, and Job too under the silent heavens. It is indeed a note that is struck again and again in the Old Testament. But always the Lord comes to save, and is as it were thus, by this extremity, defused in the fullness of his saviourhood. Jesus comes as the one who saves, the God who saves. Yet he is also Jonas and he enters into the darkness of Gethsemane and the darkness of the tomb.” (Noel Demiot O’Donoghue, Heaven in Ordinarie, Templegate, 1979, 74)
10. “Ciod, … who abides forever, for whose presence no one has to wait, whose absence no one has to fear, for the very reason that God truly is, is ever present.” (St Augustine, On Order, 11, ii, 6)
1 1. “We live in the Church at a privileged moment of the Spirit. ” (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975), n.75). 12. “BestillandknowthatlamGod…”(Ps.46:10)
SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What has been your personal experience of change in recent times?
2. Describe what you see as one of the most significant changes in the world in your life time. How has it alleded you?
3. Describe what you see as one of the most significant changes in the Church in your life time. How has it affected you? 4. How do you find stability and peace in your life?
5. Do you ever feel tempted to withdraw? What is that like? 6. What gives you hope?
7. What do you think Pope Paul VI meant when he said “we live in a privileged moment of the Spirit”? (ef #10 above) 8. What does a time of transition ask of us that a time of greater stability may not?
9. What do you think O’Donoghue means when he asks: “Where is God in the silence and the darkness”? (ef #8 above) 10. What is Congar saying about “time” and “the Church”? (cf #7 above – especially the last line)