As we approach Advent, we must be aware that we are approaching the One who sends us on mission. In general, He sends all of us on mission to proclaim the joy that is based in Him. But, on a more personal level, He gives each and every member of His Body a mission to live that joy in a unique way. Fr. Barron challenges you to read the signs of your life and see what meaning they have in the "Great story of divine revelation," the Bible. Look, and be not afraid of the joy the Lord is calling you to live.
"For Christians, God is not simply “out there” like a mountain waiting to be climbed by the intrepid spiritual mountaineer; rather, God is himself a pursuer, hunting us down with relentless love. I might shift the image a bit and suggest that God is not only behind us in pursuit, but also ahead of us in allurement, like a mother urging her child to take his first steps. Alfred North Whitehead argued that God is the great displayer of possibilities for his universe, the one who arranges and rearranges persons, objects, and events in the hopes hat his creation might come to richer and more creative expression. During the discourse he gave the night before he died, Jesus summed up his life and ministry in these words: “I have said these things that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). And therefore Christians walking the third path confidently and enthusiastically look. They know that God is luring them and so they hunt for signs. This process of watching and listening is an ancient ecclesial practice called “discernment.”
One of the best guides in this practice is the twentieth-century Jesuit scholar Bernard Lonergan, for, as an academician, he specialized in questions of the method (hunting down the truth) and, as a Jesuit, he was trained in the discernment of spirits (hunting down the will and movement of God). At the heart of Lonergan’s method is a process that he expressed in terms of four imperatives: (1) be attentive; (2) be intelligent; (3) be reasonable; and (4) be responsible. Let us examine these by turn. By “attention,” Lonergan means something very simple and, in practice, very elusive: seeing what is there to be seen. Seeing, not selectively, myopically, or superficially, but really taking in the light, colors, shapes, and objects that surround one. For Lonergan, many scientists go off the rails, not because they lack speculative intelligence, but because they get their data wrong, they don’t look. What does this mean for Christians on path three? It means that they take seriously what Aquinas said concerning God’s immanence in all things, “by essence, presence, and power,” and that they see, consequently, everything as saturated with the divine. Many of the spiritual masters have defined prayer, not as an escape from the ordinary, but as a kind of heightened attention to the depth dimension of the everyday and the commonplace. Where is the divine will displayed? For the one who has discipline of vision, everywhere and everything. For man, the spiritual life becomes dysfunctional precisely at this beginning stage – they don’t look."
(from The Strangest Way)