Approx. read time: 2:20 min
A spiritual wakeup call came to me some years back, when I came across a blunt phrase of 16th-century writer, mystic, and Carmelite reformer Teresa of Avila.
“The world is on fire,” she writes, “and this is no time to be concerned with unimportant things.”
A spiritual wakeup call indeed, written for her time, and equally for mine.
I live a pretty good, pretty safe life. No bombs exploding in my town, no gunfire in my street, no one arresting me for any reason or no reason at all.
I am free to express my faith, and equally free to be ignored.
The machinery and systems of society work pretty well for me. I’m good.
While my world isn’t on fire, I do see fires in other parts of the world, beyond my reach—fires I can do nothing about.
What was this wakeup about?
I understood: Society seems to ask very little of me, other than to be a faithful consumer and pay my taxes.
My church seems also to ask very little of me, other than to follow the rules and pitch in when I can.
Collectively, many of us seem content to take “baby steps.” For the most part, I am free to be concerned with unimportant things.
Truth be told, my town is on fire. Many people in my town, probably like many people in yours, try to navigate an economy that does not work for them. Some of them work for the economy, but that perpetuates the sound of wealth whooshing upward as wages remain unhinged from reality.
Why do I write?
I write because we’ve overslept the alarm which has been sounding steadily, trying feverishly to wake us up.
I write because the Teacher has told us all along how to live justly, tenderly, with holy imagination, generosity, and compassion—among ourselves, in our world, “on Earth, as in Heaven.”
I write not because I have something new to add to the Teacher’s vision, but to help others to see that “this is what he was talking about.”
And I discover that in writing to awaken others, I write to awaken myself.
But I’ll be honest with you: Being awake, truly awake and present and aware, exposes you to relentless waves of planned cruelty, systemic injustice, and untold human and creational suffering. The forces of Empire which early church resisted still thrive today.
Once you awaken, you know—at the core of your being—that you cannot go back to sleep and still keep your humanity intact.
None of us can do this wakeup work alone. I’m here for you.
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Be well. Live in peace. Love one another.
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