The fourth and final step for our spiritual tuneup is to act. No, you don’t have to join a stage group (although that may be what your reading, praying, and reflecting move you to do). Rather you are at a new place where you can choose to be in the world in a way that is more in sync with yourself and with God.
I’ve just started reading The Beating of Great Wings by Marianist Father Bernard Lee, SM, and in the very first few pages he says that action is not identical with activity. “Action is the exercised responsibility for collaborating with God historically in the redemption of historical experience.” (page 3) While he doesn’t define “activity” at this point, the image that comes to mind is “doing stuff” or the big and little things that make up our daily roster of activities. I also get a sense that “activity” as a sort of frenetic experience, a bit random and perhaps lacking or verging on lacking control.
Had I read Lee’s definition of action (especially in contradistinction to activity) and not already pondered this 4-step process, I probably would have thought to myself, wow, that’s a tall order to be responsible for collaborating with God in the redemption of anything, even a pop bottle or can! But the care-full process of immersing oneself in reading, praying, and reflecting is what prepares the way for being a person of action, a person who collaborates with God in redemption. That “redemption of historical experience” means that it begins with us and our everyday lived experience — shopping for diapers, working, studying for finals, having a drink with friends at the bar, sitting in traffic, etc. It also means being mindful of and action-oriented toward the needs of the bigger world — our neighborhood, our country, our world. This is the stage, so to speak, for collaborating with God.
Thoughts, questions, ponderings, ideas, inspirations? What’s percolating?