Monday, November 14, 2011

I love a good mystery.

Thanks, Christine, for sending this to me! I've been trying to remember it for a good two weeks. 

"I remember a retreat in which the distinction was made between a problem and a mystery. 
A problem must be solved. A mystery must be lived. 
A problem can engender frustration. A mystery can engender fascination.
I am convinced that the spiritual life in general is best envisaged from the vantage point of mystery rather than problem. The two dynamics are very different. Confronted with a reality that we deem to be 'problem,' we risk becoming anxious, impatient, aggressive, proud and controlling in our response to it. Faced with what we come to recognize as a 'mystery,' we have more latitude to let go and be patient, humble, trusting and open to awe. 
A problem demands analysis, action, and resolution: a dynamic I call 'swimming.'
A mystery invites meditation, contemplation, and readiness for revelation: a dynamic I call 'immersion.'
Modern secular mentality is more prone to approach things, situations, peaople and even God with a 'problematic' bias. As we have just seen, problems have to be solved regardless of their nature (material, psychological, social, institutional, spiritual or otherwise). And yet the more one learns, through experience, that truth - or let us call it wisdom - is acquired at the price of humility, the more capable one will be of contemplating rather than analyzing the deep mystery underpinnning all levels of existence...
Mysteries, by their very nature, are beyond our willful grasp. In a way, they impoverish us, eluding, as they do, our desire to control and possess. The realization that our very vocation issuses from the ultimate Mystery - unfolding within it, evolving toward it - should give us pause."

- Sister Jean-Marie Howe