There are a thousand constructs that shape each day: environment, seasons, age, experiences. Somehow, the threads come together and create memories. Some of those stretch into monuments and dominante the landscape; others hide in the background, waiting to be re-discovered, wanting to be used in understanding the past and discovering the future. Those threads bring the brilliance of color and the vividness of life at every stage. In so many ways, reflection opens up the patterns those threads are shaping.
The reflective nature of Catholicism is everywhere: in the triumph of spires and the apologies about the missions, in the narratives of mystics and saints and the confessions of the privileged and criminal. There is the joy of Brother Sun and Sister Moon, and the promise of the Cloud of Unknowing; the mansions of Teresa of Avila and the Spritiual Exercises of St. Ignatius. And then there are the lesser known: a mother of eight kneeling at daily Mass, the elderly piper caring for an ailing wife, the child in white for evey week after First Communion, the sincerity of the newly confirmed and the tenacity of the convert. The narratives are everywhere; each is placed firmly in historical context, born and bred in a time and place. There is no escaping those parameters, but there is the chance to be conscious, aware of them, to grow in understanding and somehow be touched by the grace of wisdom.
Other traditions open similar paths, encourage the pursuit of grasping a sense of place in the universe, a home where roots can stretch down deep into the soil of God’s love, a home that spurs spreading wings like an eagle and flying. There is beauty in it and hope that surpasses understanding. But to know it means recording and then re-discovering those threads, being able to perceive realities from multiple dimensions and appreciate the movements that pulsate through every ordinary day.
Every memory is thread, a piece of that bigger picture that every lifetime possesses. There are the treasures: sparkling lights of a city at night, the fresh soft breeze of hte ocean, the scent of morning and the cool descent of dusk. Holiday moments and tiny gifts, the joy of laughter among friends. And somehow the griefs: the failures and deaths, the rejections and unexpected losses, emptiness and sadness. Together the good and the challenging weave a lifetime together. Remembering itself is a sacred process, and the Gospels point to that. And every liturgical celebration, every Eucharistic celebration, is a call to remember, to transcend the boundaries and to begin to weave the threads into a textured fabric of each lifetime.
Spirituality is the rhythm, the music that underscores and animates, enlivens and soothes. The threads of spirituality are woven into every human experience and moment. Often invisible, sometimes just hidden, those threads are real. To simply see them is not enough to really understand. That is the gift of time, of insight, of learning about self, others, the world and its gifts. Seeing without fear, accepting reality, and being willing to deal with it anchors the threads in larger memories. Without them, the intensity and range of color finds a sallow hue. With them, the narrative finds depth and wealth, energy and vibrance.