There is nothing more challenging in life than moving or growing in awareness of your environment. The most basic and fundamental unit is the human person, who comes into being with two other persons’ consent and lives for seventy or eighty years, if lucky.

I would like you to accompany me on a Lectio Divina I took a few months ago when I was thinking about trying to save the world because of the Ukraine invasion by Russia. The term “World” can mean many things depending on your assumptions about what it means to be in the world (small caps). This

  1. I am born into the world that is my mother’s womb, dark, nourishing, safe, and protected from the corruption of what is outside. I am born into corruptibility, having a beginning to my life and deteriorating (some call it physical maturity) until I reach an end in the future. I am fragile and depend upon my mom and dad for my existence. I am dependent on others. Someone must feed me, clean me, help me sleep, and take me to the doctor when sick.
  2. As I deteriorate (grow), I do so in my crib, my world. My senses become attuned to picking up sounds and language so I can begin to interact with my surroundings and be in charge of my space.
  3. My world is now one of discovery, and I use my crib not to cage myself but as a place to sleep at night while my world becomes my house. I learn to speak in languages where I can tell people what I want. I try to control my space and let people know if I don’t like something. I learn what works to help me get what I want and what does not, depending on those around me less and less for food and play.
  4. My world is ever-expanding now, and I realize there is life outside of my house. I go to church. I go to school. I keep maturing in taking control of my environment. My choices are limited to what my parents want and say is good for me. I comply or not, depending on my emotional stability and personality type. As I learn what is good and bad for me, I assimilate choices into how I now try to control others. I get my way sometimes, but other times, I don’t.
  5. My world is now high school and then college, a conveyor belt I am on but don’t quite know where it takes me. People I love die, get sick, have cancer, or have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, and I see the consequences of their lives on me and those around me. I still like to control my destiny, but there are some hard lessons I must learn.
  6. My world is now beyond my city and state. I push the boundaries of my world by traveling and sipping the pleasures of human sexuality. My choices are based on how I see the purpose of my life.
  7. My world takes an abrupt pause. I now wonder what the purpose of all these experiences is. What is authentic love? What does it mean to be fully human? Is death the end of life?
  8. I bump into a Lay Cistercian friend who challenges me to look deeper into myself and wait. Where can I get answers? The “world” that I know does not know the questions to ask, much less the answers. This is a world that I had avoided because I did not know how to use it properly.
  9. I learned to wait for the questions and then for the authentic answers. It is the world of contemplation, the realm of the heart that is invisible to the eye yet key to my reaching fulfillment as a human.
  10. My world expanded into one with two citizenships, one living out my destiny on earth. Another one simultaneously seeks to be an adopted son of the kingdom of heaven and loves others as Christ loved us. This world allows my seventy or eighty years to have a purpose and meaning and fulfills me as a human being. I am loved.

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