Friday, January 05, 2018

Pages from the Past: Following the Star

The Magi’s great question: “Where is he?” 
I can imagine them approaching the house…Joseph outside, stacking wood or something:
Where is he?” 
And Joseph: “Come and see!”

The Magi (as well as the shepherds) are good examples of freedom. The "exceedingly great joy" they felt at the star’s reappearance shows that they were not acting out of a grim and determined sense of duty or obligation, but following the call of beauty that corresponded to their interior compass.

Then there's Herod. 

Herod’s unfreedom is manifest in his not even reflecting on his action. Crafty he was, but he did not consider the “why?” or “what” he was doing: his motivation was never examined; his ultimate goal not recognized. It is as if he acted only out of instinct—and Matthew notes that he acted while in a perturbed state of mind. He was “under the influence”; he was out of control even while he tried to control everything, Magi included. 

This is why we make—and need to make—an examen every day: to keep verifying our actual (not our stated) motivations for what we do during the day, the choices we make; the priorities we act by, the triggers that provoke automatic behaviors… to call them up, verify them, see them in the light of truth, especially of the Word of God that has most spoken to us for that period of time. It is vitally important not to dislodge the Word of God from the examen or we risk assuming a very different background/horizon by which to see and evaluate. 

Knee-jerk reactions call for the deepest examination: they are a sign of stuck, stolid unfreedom.

"Pages from the Past" are randomish excerpts from my old journals. I process things in writing, so there were a lot of volumes, but here and there I found notes that were still pertinent or helpful. I got rid of the books (hello, shredder!) and typed up the things I wanted to save, whether for myself (mostly) or to share. 

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