"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert … I am not worthy to untie the sandal strap of the one who is coming after me.” – Jn 1:25, 27
With all the gift giving of Christmas and the resolution making of the New Year, it is easy to think that the spiritual life is about adding on. Just as upward mobility is the road to social success, the spiritual life is also about putting on and learning more so we can ascend to God. Yet, most saints (like Basil and Gregory we celebrate today) describe the spiritual journey as more unlearning than learning. They speak of a shedding off and a letting go more than an adding on. Downward mobility. The figure of John the Baptist returns in today’s Gospel to remind us that “[Jesus] must increase; [he] must decrease” (Jn 3:30).
As I begin 2014, it is good for me to take some time of quiet, to disconnect myself from electronic devices so I can (re)connect better to God and my truer self. I am invited to rest in grace, to get in touch with a deeper part of myself. Terry Hershey’s poem from his The Power of Pause is helpful for me to clear the path in the New Year:
"What if life isn’t about finishing on top,
but knowing when to stop?
What if life isn’t about learning to live with stress,
but learning to live with less?
What if life isn’t about pushing yourself to the limit,
but embracing everything minute?
What if life isn’t about constant action,
but eliminating distraction?
What if life isn’t about what you chase,
but resting in God's grace?"
Lord, help me rest more in Your love and care today and focus less on me, on my expectations or worries.