This morning I was reading Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Infancy Narratives from the Jesus of Nazareth series…as you do. Let’s be clear about one thing. Whether you’re a Benedict fan, not a fan or don’t care either way, he is irrefutably a stellar theologian. Along with Von Balthazar, he is among the best of the last 500 years.
When you read Benedict you find a very accessible read and frequent flashes of theological brilliance; striking in their simplicity.
Today he drew attention to the presence of ‘haste‘ in the infancy narratives. We note that when Mary leaves to visit Elizabeth, she went, “…with haste to the town in Judea where Zechariah and Elizabeth lives.” (Luke 1:39)
Next he draws attention to the response of the shepherds after the angelic visitation. No extra serving of lamb shanks around the campfire for these guys! After the angelic choirs laid down the material for Handel’s Messiah, the shepherds also, “…made haste..” to get to Bethlehem to see for themselves what had taken place.
Benedict then lowers the boom. A simple and probing line that goes to the heart of much of our modern, frenetic lives. I found it very confronting:
“How many Christian’s make haste today, where the things of God are concerned? Surely, if anything merits haste – so the evangelist is discreetly telling us – then it is the things of God.” (p.79)
Where is the haste in your life today? Are you making time for the central, crucial aspect of your existence? This is not about laying on guilt. We need this! We are, what is called in Latin, capax dei – that which has the capacity for God. We are God seeking beings. We can bury that truth, deny it, drug it, work too hard or drink it into submission but yet it remains.
In the midst of the crazy life I lead, I fight every day for 30 – 40 minutes of silence and contemplation – just to be in the presence of God. It is possible. It’s hard but it’s possible. We can do this!
Where is the haste in your life? Is it bringing you peace? What if you made haste to be with the one who formed the very fabric of your soul and wants to guide you into a deeper human and spiritual experience? What if….?