Discipline and Undistractedness
by Mark Votava
I have found that my communion with God is a mystery. I have to live in the tension of mystery and intentionality. This mystery lives within me, but I have to have some attention to it. I have to let my communion live, grow and evolve over my lifetime.
- Communion that is creative, evolving, unpredictable
The mystical imagination is not built on chance or fate. The mystical imagination is a metaphor of our communion with God. This is a communion that will be creative, passionate, alive, evolving, unpredictable and rooted.
- Unwilling to leave anything to chance
The mystical imagination does not practice patterns of escapism, but embraces truthfulness in our lives together as the body of Christ in the parish. Robert Benson writes, “We are unwilling, it seems to me, to leave anything in our lives to chance except the way we live out our lives in communion with the One who gave us life in the first place. It seems odd to me.”
- Our communion with our Creator is left to chance
It seems odd to me also that we are intentional about so many things in life: our families, our shopping, our entertainments, our social life, our careers, our sexuality, our appetites, our comfort and security – except our communion with our Creator. We almost have no imagination for the mystical in everyday life. We settle for the cliché of our concept of predestination that says “everything has a purpose and if it’s meant to be it will happen.”
- The “real world” of images and entertainment
So we end up never really pursuing God within the framework of the mystical imagination in everyday life. We say, “It just isn’t a part of the real world.” It is secondary to the “real world” of images and entertainments. The “real world” is what we can see right in front of us all of the time.
- An undistracted life of liberation
We need a mystical imagination that redefines what the “real world” is to us as the body of Christ in the parish. We need a mystical sense of discipline that helps us to not escape God and one another through our local context. We need an undistracted life of liberation. God needs to be pursued with everything that lives within us.
- Learning some discipline
This will not happen by chance. So let us forget about chance and learn the life of the mystical imagination with some discipline and undistractedness. This is the path of becoming saints in our local context through our relationships in all the commonality and diversity that abides.
- Obliterating the reality of my life
Jacques Ellul in His book Humiliation Of The Word says, “Above all, I must not become aware of reality, so images create a substitute reality… Artificial images, passing themselves off for truth, obliterate and erase the reality of my life and my society. They allow me to enter an image-filled reality that is much more thrilling…”
How can we not leave our communion with our Creator to chance?