“ENTER INTO the liturgical life as a part of your whole spiritual journey. Open yourself to the grace of God just as you do in practices of journaling, spiritual reading, social ministry, and silence. Your personality type and where you are on your lifeís pathway will affect the degree to which liturgical participation will speak to you. Welcome what you can, and trust God with the rest.”
– Daniel T. Benedict Jr.
Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Us
I grew into the “liturgical” life gradually from the more “charismatic” approach to Christian life.† Perhaps, it was out of plain necessity – because things were getting tiring, even to the point of exhaustion. I still value the spontaneous and celebrative, in fact, I think it these dimensions has become more meaningful after the deepening effect of the “liturgical life.”† Maybe due to my personality type, I still struggle with silence.† But I know I’ve grown in this area and I don’t feel guilty because I don’t reach the stage of a zen-like silence guru.
The practices mentioned above aren’t ends in themselves as if they are achievements to aim for.† The reality of it is that after “opening up space” with the aid of these practices – I’m truly more open to the grace of God.† And this is one aspect which seems to be lacking in many today.† We are grasping too many things, people, events, memories, concerns.† We are unable to let go … and in the quest to “fix things” we land up more “disorientated” and dis-empowered.
It seems to be the tendency when we bump into a wall of personal troubles, we tend to close up and isolate ourselves not just from people (especially the sages or fellow companions we need to hear), but indirectly from God’s voice.† And we only hear our own voices in the echo chamber of our heads. Of course, if it’s our own voice alone then maybe we can let the noise quiet down.† But there’s usually other voices shouting for attention.† And every voice seems to demand priority.† Then we feel so crowded out and tired.
What we need is to unload these voices we are hearing, get them out of our system. † That’s why trusted people with listening and discerning ears are so crucial.† Not just people who are good listeners, but people who help us discern some baby steps forward.† There are always one or two around the corner.† We don’t need to fear asking for help. It’s humbling, it’s inconvenient, it may feel we’re intruding… but it’s part of recognizing our humanity – yes our sinful broken weak humanity …† we are not alone … indeed we are NOT alone. Grace awaits us.