One of my priests friends had the un-enviable job of overseeing issues around priests and personnel and conflicts among the brothers. At one point, during a particularly stressful time, he said a simple line that, unfortunately, has stayed with me: “This job kills all curiosity…!” In context, I completely understand what he was saying. He had to hear all about the poor decisions that my brother priests were sometimes want to make. And the petty squabbles. And the turf battles. And the violations of canon law. It fell to his desk to deal with the sinful side of the priesthood. In that context, “this job kills all curiosity” makes complete sense. But it is deadly, I think, for the spiritual life.
I was reminded of that at the wedding of my former campus minister these past two days – first the rehearsal, the brunch, and then the wedding and reception. There was a relative of the bride who had three small kids under the age of 6. They were close knit. Exploring everything. The crib scene; the three wise men; the camels; the Christmas tree. At the brunch – every nook and cranny of a small room; the wood pile; the groom’s cake; the buffet line – it all was examined. And then again at Maggiano’s – a Christmas tree, poinsettias, room décor – none of it escaped their gaze, none of it was outside the realm of exploration and wonder.
WONDER is what starts the journey of the Magi, isn’t? Whether 2000 years ago or now, when we believe that something NEW is happening, about to happen; when we are hopeful of the inbreaking of God into our world – filled with expectation – how can we not explore? (fav. book this past year – Bill Bryson’s “A short history of almost everything” which gives a crash course in the nature of space, time, geology, archeology, physics, etc. I find this world of ours sooo fascinating.)
There are two prerequisite of wonder, two traits that make wonder possible. The first is to believe that God is NOT DONE with me/us/this world of ours… It is the absolute trust on our parts that every moment holds a potential epiphany – a revelation of the faithfulness of God to us.
The second, I was taught again by those three girls. You have to be willing to be led by your curiosity, to explore where it takes you, to follow where it leads. Without that willing to go where curiosity leads, you’ll never be able to push through the tough times, and what sometimes appears to be ugly to find the presence of God.
Wise men still seek him… do we? This Epiphany, perhaps that is the only question worth looking at. Are you making the wise man’s journey? To that end, where are you at in those two poles:
Are you in the “This job kills all curiosity mode?” shut off, closed off, just coasting through life till its end?
Can you watch small kids play and be amazed and RECAPTURE that wonder that ALWAYS sets wise men and women on the journey?
Star of Wonder, Star of light…
guide us to thy perfect light.