NPR has been airing weekly essays in a series called This I Believe. Today's was another gem. It was called Utterly Humbled by Mystery by I was struck by this quote, "We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of 'faith'! How strange that the very word 'faith' has come to mean its exact opposite.” Think about that for a minute; the contrast between the certitude of resolution (even about theological issues) and the nature of faith.
Father Rohr ends his essays with this profound paragraph:
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It's the people who don't know who usually pretend that they do. People who've had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don't know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is -- quite sadly -- absent from much of our religious conversation today. My belief and comfort is in the depths of Mystery, which should be the very task of religion.
Musicians, storytellers, and artists of all types understand the value of mystery, it is their stock-in-trade. I also believe that the best preachers know this as well. As we try to prepare ourselves once again to peer into the lowly, dirty, cold and smelly stable to see if there really is a baby in that manger, may we all value mystery.
ADDENDUM: I discovered that Father Rohr is a Red Letter Christian when I visited Jim Wallis' God's Politics blog. Yet more reason to explain the kinship I felt with him. I also checked out his organization, Center for Action and Contemplation, a place I will definitely visit when I get to Albuquerque. Here is a wonderful prayer I found on their web site:
A Prayer for Prophets
“I will send them prophets,” the Wisdom of God says, “but you will kill them and afterwards build monuments to them.”
—Jesus according to Luke 11:49 (alternate translations)