The change needed to address the social and environmental crisis we face requires only that we become the human beings we have been created to be. It is for this reason that the walk described below includes both spiritual and practical dimensions.
The Laudato Si Walk.
Overview The walk consists of 5 Stations or segments. Station #1 is a 15 minute walk from my house, going north on Lake St, then east on 23’d Ave to the edge of Wascana Lake. Station #2 is a 15 minute walk along the Wascana path, followed by a 5 minute walk to Campion College. Station #3 is a 15 minute stay in the Chapel of Campion College. Station #4 takes 30 minutes in all and includes a trip to, and a stop at a study table in the FNUC (First Nations University of Canada) building. Station #5 is a 40 minute segment, consisting of the walk that goes from FNUC to the U of R, a stop at a study table, followed by the one mile trip home.
Station #1. This segment is a 15 minute walk from my house to Wascana Lake. Station #1 is for contemplating the underlying question of Laudato Si—Whose vision of me am I acting out of, or just how full is my heart?So I ask myself, “To what extent do I seem ‘off the mark’; experience a prevailing anxiety, an underlying unhappiness, or an inability to reach out?” Or, equivalently, am I attaining the maturity in which I choose to do what the world needs over whatever I want to do? For me the struggle began with giving the first ten percent of my life, ie. getting started, making a commitment. But now the issue is more about finding the way to give the last ten percent of me for the greater good. Because the battle for the last ten percent involves breaking into the last stronghold and reign of stinginess, it seems to be an all-out affair. At the core of the last ten percent is found the ill-works of some combination of pride, envy, greed, gluttony, anger and lust. These are universally recognized blemishes waiting to creep out, take over, throw us around and wash us away. We need a Victorious One who will accompany us!
At last I face my final quest! With ‘Victor’ by my side, my quest is to persistently, mindfully, appropriately and creatively learn how to hand myself over, no holds barred, to the last drop, from the place where a call has been placed on my life, in much needed commitments showing the deepest level of compassion and conviction of love.
About the struggle of the last ten percent…does anyone else catch themselves still trying to impress others, actively nurturing anger and lingering resentments, feeding various forms of addictions, or simply withholding support from those needing encouragement and affirmation? If not these, then what is it for you?
Different cultural expectations can throw challenges at us. How can anyone not be affected by the current state of cultural rapidification? Rapidification is the speed today’s society asks your mind and body to go, a speed too fast for your soul to keep up. It is also the speed at which things are dug up, cut down, consumed and buried, a speed too great for nature to process. Can I be cunning enough, in a competitive and self-centered climate, to avoid the pitfalls that would snuff out a glad heart full of generosity?
Life in an aggressive, greed-driven and throw-away culture, prizing individualism and consumerism, is drenched in political rhetoric; “it’s all about the economy, stupid”. In that mindset, however, the least, lost and lowest are all but ignored, resulting in toxicity that produces suffering and fuels antagonisms. Do I know where to fix blame in the face of blowback? Recognizing that political solutions are needed to address culturally induced desperation and legitimate dissatisfaction also means acknowledging that reactive defense of self, community and country only maintains a vicious cycle of violence. Blaming the victim even while appealing to moral rights and professing love of country cannot be considered as a way of ‘keeping the peace’. Am I willing to see that violence against the weak is linked to selfishness of heart?
Perhaps I have developed a level of blindness that convinces me that lowliness is an embarrassment, something to be avoided at all costs. But aggression and violence only know how to destroy. Paradoxically, poorness of spirit opens us to a different kind of power. Poorness of spirit is the condition for having a childlike relationship with the Divine, a trusting relationship in which I am ready to ask, seek, and knock for what I feel is missing. The enrichment found in surrender to God is not something available to the force of my own will. The power that every heart really longs for comes by moving from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat, comes from the answer given to pleas found in the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console …’? If I can bring life to another by pardoning him or modeling joy or through peacemaking actions, then indeed, I know true power. It is now possible to speak of fullness of heart.
Each trip through Station #1 provides me with the opportunity to self-examine on one or more of the above considerations, depending on what the day brings. I must not give up on myself. Conversion of heart is a life-long process. This station is one that I can return to over and over again.