Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Continually Called to Conversion

For the past few months I, along with two other candidates in the community, have been attending a formation workshop on the Psychosocial Aspects of Community Life. While most of the class is a dull reiteration of life lessons I've learned years ago, there are a few things I have found helpful to take from the experience. One of these such things is the human nature of judging.

In the context of this workshop we broke open the reality of our preconditioned mentality toward judging. When asked to share observations of our surroundings we do so by judging, by labeling experiences. I may describe the feeling I felt as "the breeze blowing on my face," a true observation does not label that experience "breeze" but rather says I felt a cool, blowing sensation upon my face. In some ways this was bizarre, as I'm sure some of you may be thinking even as you read this . . . BUT, there is a deeper truth hidden in these thoughts.

I was with my family recently for a family event. For me it was one of those gatherings that felt much more like an obligation than a celebration. Because of my preconceived feelings toward the evening I fell into a pattern of judging. It was easy to judge, for reasons probably too personal to publish online, but easy or not "appropriate" is a whole other story.

I was sitting with my parents, cousins, and godparents. My Aunt who is my godmother is quite an amazing woman. My cousin and I were wrapped up in conversation in which my cousin pointed out the generosity and love of my Aunt. "It doesn't matter to her, she loves everyone the same." she said at one point. And yes, this is true. My Aunt loves in a truly unconditional manner! As I reflect on my own issues concerning my sometimes judging nature and my Aunt's loving disposition I cannot help but think of Saint Francis. As Francis "preached with his actions" so too does my Aunt demonstrate the power of love.

If only I could start learning from their example right? And now the judging turns on myself. Here I have chosen to live this intentional Christian life and still I find myself falling into quite caddy situations and conversations.

I think the first place to start is to let go of the negative feelings of self. We aren't always going to get it right. There are going to be times when I don't like how I am acting or feeling, but that is where we are blessed with the gift of conversion. God created a world for us in which we are continually called to conversion. These opportunities simply help me to discover more fully the person God is calling me to be!

So, me and judging? Like this crazy adventure we call "life," I'm working on it!

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