Monday, March 17, 2014
All these qualities are commendable but ultimately I think we love Atticus Finch because we would want him to be our neighbor. We recognize in him a person who epitomizes Romans 13:10 — “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Atticus Finch loves his neighbors as himself. He is not perfect in the sense of being flawless or without sin. But he is a person of faithful love.It seems like we always aim for the spectacular and the miraculous. We think Christians are not supposed to be ordinary.
I imagine people like Atticus Finch when I want to visualize the goal of spiritual formation.
I don’t think of monks or nuns or others who have devoted themselves to religious vocations. I learn from them, and I respect their work, but this is not the path the vast majority of people are called to take.
Most of us are ordinary folks living in communities of lots of other ordinary folks who are not separated from the world and cloistered in religious orders. It is here — right here — that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Spiritual formation is mostly about learning to live the new life of love in Christ in ordinary settings as we do our daily work and relate to our neighbors.
And yet, in a world where common courtesy is in short supply - Where the misanthropic is often celebrated - Where the ultimate goal seems to be about self that a good ordinary person may be the biggest most spectacular miracle of them all.
In the end, it is easy to be good for the big splash, to put on goodness for the public. But to be good, day in and day out; that's hard work. So hard, in fact, that it must be a miracle.