Living into a Reflective Way of Life   

by Mark Votava


A deep, reflective way of life in which I find an abiding rest in the things I do is so essential for my functioning in a healthy way that is respectful to the sacredness of all of life in the world.  When this breaks down in me, I usually become more isolated and depressed inside.  And this is not what God is calling me to in everyday life together with others.

I find myself longing for rest, reflection, silence, solitude and peace.  These are hard to come by in a fast society that is pushing me to make more money at the expense of the interior life.  The interior life might frighten us at first because we are not used to living in this center, but this is where our salvation is worked out in everyday life.  Without the interior life, we are shells of empty words and our actions will soon manifest into a colonial violence that goes on unconsciously.

  •  The process of becoming human

Our courage could help us in the process of becoming human, like Christ, in the place we inhabit together.  To be like Christ is to become human.  To be like Christ is to embody courage.

  •  To be like Christ

To be like Christ is to practice reflection and rest in our humanity.  To be like Christ is to be present to our local community, to live in our local community and to love our local community.  Christ was alive in his local community in the world and we should be too.

  •  More need of our weakness

Marva J. Dawn says, “God has more need of our weakness than our strength…  By our union with Christ in the power of the Spirit in our weaknesses, we display God’s glory.”

  •  Called to be an expression of love

Loving our neighbors in the parish is why we practice refection and rest.  This is how we become human.  This is how we love God in the place we inhabit together.  There is no way around this.  We are called to be an expression of love.

  •  God cannot escape us in the form of our neighbors

Our reflection and rest is only authentic if we love our neighbors in everyday life together.  Within our locality, God cannot escape us in the form of our neighbors.  Our neighbors are all around us.  God is working within us and all around us constantly.

  •  This mysterious working in and around us

Our humanity becomes sensitive to this mysterious working in and around us.  Our reflection and rest helps us to reimagine this mystery.  Our reflection and rest embraces God through the diverse faces of our neighbors.  This is the way of Jesus.  This is the path of wisdom.

  •  Seeing all that lies hidden

Ken Gire in his book Seeing What is Sacred writes, “To better love God and other people is the goal of the reflective life.  But before we can love them, we must see them.  And we must see them not as we would like to see them or as they would like to be seen.  We must see them as they are.  Otherwise we don’t love the person.  We love the image we perceive the person to be.  If we are to love people as they are, we must see them as they are.  Which means seeing all that lies hidden within them.”

Do you practice a reflective way of life?