One of the wonderful and challenging developments over the years
at our Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul (now novitiate for the Missouri,
Upper Canada, and Wisconsin Provinces) has been the introduction
of the pilgrimage for the first year novices. Following upon the
30-day Spiritual Exercises and a 6-week service, say, in
a L’Arche home, the novice directors send their minions forth
to the world for a 6-week pilgrimage.
Get this: Each novice receives a one-way bus ticket and about $30.00
for their travel and food. The rest is up to God and them. They
have been sent as far away from St. Paul, MN as Mexico City, as
nearby as Clinton, Iowa. They are to beg for food and lodging, go
about doing good and preaching the Reign of God, and beg for money
for their return trip. The goal of the pilgrimage is to grow in
trusting God and God’s people and to deepen the graces received
during the 30-day retreat. How do you like that?
Now, Jesus was doing more than that. It sounds like the intro to
Survivor: Galilee, a new Christian reality show. It’s
not the Twelve that vote themselves off the Land, but it’s
their neighbors and fellow Israelites that will try to do them in!
Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves.”
I wonder about the different worldviews of each. Is the world good
and “charged with the grandeur of God?” Is the world
hostile and bereft of the presence of God. Seems to me that one’s
worldview shapes one’s spirituality. Quite a few experience
the world as hostile to Jesus and his gospel. This leads some to
a more defensive posture, watching out for attack. Many experience
the world as a good and kindly place. This leads some to embrace
differences that exist in the world.
The negative aspect of the first worldview is paranoia and the projection
of one’s fears upon others, followed by unwarranted attacks.
The negative aspect of the second is the temptation to conform the
gospel and the Christian way of life to the world around.
I wonder about whether either worldview is sufficient unto itself.
Perhaps we in the Church need to embrace the tension between a view
of the world that comes from the Contemplatio in the
Spiritual Exercises that sees God active in this world and
this view from Matthew’s Discourse.
What do you think?