This came by way of Gerry Straub’s blog and like much I’ve read of Anthony de Mello it is right on target. Ideology from left, right, center, or whatever all miss the point.
As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life…. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as a mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.”-Anthony de Mello, SJ
[New York: Doubleday, 1990 – page 148]
A tourist says to his guide, “You have a right to be proud of your town I was especially impressed with the number of churches in it. Surely the people here must love the Lord.” “Well,” replied the cynical guide, “”they may love the Lord, but they sure as hell hate each other.”–taken from “Selected Writings of Anthony De Mello.” by William Dych, SJ.
I’ve written before how much De Mello’s words touch me and this short story is a good one. How often do we hear of religious people full of intolerance for each other. This morning at Mass I witnessed an unusual event. Fr. Dan Riley, OFM who was our celebrant began the Eucharist this morning by inviting us to say our names and then told us that at some point during the liturgy we would break so that some late arriving guests could join us and then we’d sing “Happy Birthday” to one of them.
He began with the sign of the cross and then followed the Introit, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the first reading and the psalm, Following the psalm, Fr. Dan heard the guests arrive and then he walked out of the chapel to greet them. As we sat there waiting for the Mass to resume I thought of how much Fr. Dan’s actions were like those of Jesus. He didn’t wait for them to come to him, but went to them, met them when they were still aways off and brought them into our midst and then we sang Happy Birthday to Maurice. Dan’s actions speak louder than any words he could have spoken this morning. He was Christ to us and to the late arriving guests. The love in the chapel was palpable this morning and it touched us all.
The guest was St. Bonaventure University basketball player, Maurice Thomas, and his family. We all got to meet Maurice and his family and we all experienced love first hand. There was much love there this morning and its an event I won’t soon forget.
One day you may say, “I found God, I know him, he is so and so, he is there and there, he is in me, in creation, in the eucharist …” That is a day of disaster for you because you will have found your God, your own projection, so pitiful and small. These gods – these idols – in turn keep us pitiful and small. We would fight for them … They can be terrible … Mystery does not require defenders. Idols do. Mystery makes us humble.–Anthony De Mello, SJ.
I came across this quote in my reading tonight and it took me back to something that I had written on Thursday on “Merton and Me.”
I’m in the process of waking up. It’s a journey and not a destination. I’ll never be fully awake but I hope that I continue to awaken to the reality of the world that has been created for all of us. This isn’t the Madison Avenue marketing world or the world as described on the evening news. This is the world that St. Francis of Assisi awakened to. This world that I’m waking up to is found in the space between thoughts. It’s found in the darkness between stars.
Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics -Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare. — Anthony de Mello, S.J.
Read more by Anthony de Mello here.