I immediately think of the example of Mary. She was open to the startling words of the angel. The angel spoke a completely unexpected and confusing message. Why was she so favored by God? How could she conceive a child when she was not married and had never had relations with a man? And yet, Mary was open. She questioned but she was willing to hear, consider and, in the end, even accept the mysterious message of the angel (Luke1:26-38). Mary’s example calls us to be open. For example:
- Not immediately rejecting a new idea because we have never done it that way before but being willing to consider and evaluate it.
- Not turning off a new insight into our faith because it is different from what we learned as a child but taking it in and seeing if it expresses something about God or our relationship with God that is in harmony with the gospel.
- Not shutting down to something different in the celebration of the Mass but trying to appreciate its possibility for enhancing our worship.
- Not judging others by physical appearance, such as by tattoos or body piercings or the length or color of hair but trying to appreciate others as unique persons.
- Not dividing ourselves from others based on beliefs, opinions, or perspectives but seeking common ground.
Being open in the above and other ways helps to bring the kingdom of God to this earth. It allows God to act with us as God did with the openness of Mary. It will help us to be more at peace within ourselves. It may expand our vision. It will lead to a greater respect for others and maybe even the building of community. It will help to make the presence of God more real on this earth. This is why being open is an essential ingredient of spiritual wellness.~ Father Michael Schleupner