The Journey to Resurrection
(Lent, Holy Week and Easter in a Monastery) Day 10 Simplicity
“Simplicity ( you seek only God) Purity (give all the Glory to God, virginity (no concepts, no images, no words) poverty (of self) all of this lead us, little by little to the depths.” Meister Eckhart
Today was full day. Me and some monks from the Monastery went to the Cathedral in Augsburg for the Chrism Mass. When I was a young seminary student it was our job after the mass to fill the small containers of holy oil for the parishes to pick up after the celebration.
The church has changed since my days in seminary. We all had great dreams in the 70’s and 80’s that we really would change the world. Vatican II had put this desire into us and the times we lived that were filled with activism and social responsibility. Our world would be different.
We imagined a church united where Catholics and main line Protestants would share Communion, the Sacraments, and this common vision of Church.
We were fighting for equality and human rights for women, latin america, gays and lesbians, and seeking peace without nuclear weapons or nuclear energy. We were dreamers and we believed we would make a difference.
Now almost 50 years latter it seems at times we have gone back not forward. The sexual abuse scandals, the increased clericalism, and hierarchalism, of the church, the rise of populism in politics, and total lack of concern for minority groups struggling to get by in the world, not to say climate change and the glorification of the capital system. This was not the world that we envisioned in 2020.
Where do we turn? Where do we go from here? Is there a way forward?
Many of us who continue to embrace our faith have lost much of our faith in the institutions that once made us feel secure. I have learned that smaller is better and less is more! As much as it is nice to connect all around the world in an instant, there is a need for smaller community (new monasticism), simpler lives, deeper prayer, and stillness in the face of global change and upheaval.
“When a human being humbles him or herself, God, in his own goodness, cannot refrain from lowering himself and flowing into the humble soul-it is to the smallest that the Deity gives himself the most and in plenitude.”
We must all become smaller, from the Pope down, from the President down, from the CEO down. Our hierarchical systems are crumbling before our eyes. We must return to family and or our small circle of friends. We must return to activism on local levels, neighborhood and city. We must make our villages better places to live and breath. We must fight for safety for our children and the vulnerable in our midst.
It saddens me that the institutions we know as they lose power and influence seem to have the need to be louder, more vocal, and impose themselves more. Like the dictators and popular candidates we see in the current political system. Who comes to serve, and not be served in any leadership position any more?
This is not a “liberal agenda”. It is a human agenda where we place human beings front and foremost in the picture not the institutions they serve! A reversal of the order is in demand. If we cannot do this on a large scale, then we must learn to do it with our small circles of faith groups, co workers, and family systems. Simplicity must rule the day.
I visited one of the most simple churches I have ever been in ever. St Moritz in Augsburg. The simplicity of the church brings one to their knees in awe and wonder. The empty space makes room for God. It is a space that any human being can find the Sacred in. I wish there were more spaces like this.
As I enter into the next three sacred days. It is with a simple mind that I want to approach. May these be empty days to make room for the fullness of God.
In order to receive God we must make ourselves small.
pic St Moritz Church