As I slowly but surely find myself re-immersed in the daily life of a church musician in Muscatine, Iowa, I find that I am fed and energized by continuing thoughts of the twelve days in Rome. This last reflection did not come from any particular talk or meeting or experience. Rather these thoughts seem to sum up the underlying spirit of the Congress.
It occurred to me when we visited Subiaco, and the cave in which St. Benedict spent the first three years of his monastic life: Benedict didn’t go to Subiaco to found a monastic order. He sought to be alone. He sought out a cave and the world came after him. The results are history.
Jesus didn’t seek to establish a Church, or, indeed, any kind of movement. He called a few disciples and fled with them to the desert. The world came to him. He sought to be alone and the crowds mobbed him. We continue to seek him out twenty centuries later.
Later, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples hid in fear. In their hiding, the Spirit moved on them, as on the primordial waters, they were awakened and empowered, and the world sought them out to win a share of their awakening and the Spirit’s power.
Maybe we’re trying to hard in our day. Can we trust ourselves to seek the desert, taking the risk that we may die alone? Can we trust God to sustain us and ground us in the mob scene if the pattern holds true?
I sensed more a back and forth in Jesus: reaching out to others intentionally to teach and heal, then fleeing regularly (going on vacation with God). I sense it’s vital we don’t absolutize solitude as where we aim to spend our existence; but you’ve got a dance move there, especially since it’s clear that the crowd (i.e. those not sharing the dance pattern?) are always around one.