Today is St Patrick‘s Day. This day is celebrated in many ways–some religious, most not. For many, the only thing worth remembering about St Patrick was that he is the reason, according to legend, there are no snakes in Ireland. For others, he is the cornerstone of what we know now as Celtic Christianity, and the predecessor of many notable saints of that tradition.
This ties in loosely with Richard Rohr‘s reflection for today because saints and holy people of any era demonstrate for us a manner of life that it would do well for us to follow.
I am convinced that most of the saints were religious dropouts from societies and even religious groups that were going nowhere. Faith called them to drop out and drop in to Something Else.
Jesus’ announcement of the reign of God was telling us that human culture as we’ve created it is on a track toward self-destruction and emptiness. The Biblical word for that was “the world,” but since people think we are rejecting the planet, the earth, the creation—which is NOT what Jesus meant—I just speak of “the system.” This is the egocentric and self-serving way that all groups seem to organize themselves without radical God-centeredness (sometimes even the churches).
All we have to give up is the utterly false understanding of human nature that we get from most groups and even most families. For some reason this foundational liberation seems to be the most difficult thing in the world! I am sure this is what Jesus is referring to when he made his utterly shocking statement, “Anyone who comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brother, sisters. . .cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-26). Wow! If that is not asking us to drop out of the usual game, I cannot imagine any stronger way to say it.
Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 57, day 60