Tag Archives: vocation

SOUL MATES

SOUL MATES

The soul has a strong desire and need for intimacy, and it loves vernacular life—that particular place, family, friends, neighborhood that are part of our daily life. That is why we look at ways of being in any kind of relationship soulfully: bonds that we feel with certain people.

A soul mate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected by divine grace. There is nothing more precious in life than our soul mate. Actually, this form of intimacy is not limited to one person or one form.

We are not talking about the interpersonal mechanics that comes to the foreground. Some nonchalantly say that we are simply programmed to act the way we do – almost like a machine. Not so! Today’s communication is technically sophisticated and speedy, but not necessarily more soulful.

We are dealing with questions like, “what is this thing when we fall madly in love?”, or “Why is this deep love never seemed to be satisfied?”, or “What is it that the soul wants upon separation?”

Some of us are frustrated and ask, “What is this continued failure to find love?” There are troubling aspects: doubts, distancing, desire for separation and freedom and endings. We suffer symptoms of loss of soul. The reason why we have so much trouble with relationships today may be our neglect of the study of the soul.

SOUL MATES

The soul loves attachments of all kinds – to places, ideas, times, sounds and music even in the ordinary details of everyday life. There are two pulls on our life: one upward toward success, progress, and intellectual clarity and another downward into individual, quiet life.

We have strong desires to have a family, live with another person, or join a community and yet after this has been satisfied, we are still drawn in exactly the opposite direction – our intimacy and our solitude. We must learn to honor both togetherness and individuality at the same time, even though we may sometimes feel a tug to one side only.

There are really two goals: one, to come to know yourself and two, to get to know the deep and subtle richness of the soul of the other. The final objective is to be both intimately connected with one another and at the same time, preserve one’s integrity and individuality.

This can be accomplished by giving the other sufficient emotional space in which to live and express one; then to risk revealing your own soul, complete with all its own absurdities. There are deep roots that may never have been revealed because of a lack o communication. The solution is not knowledge but love and a feeling that “you are accepted” by the other

We look at ourselves and we don’t like what we see. We try to change but the old imperfections remain steadfast. The basis of all relationships starts with the recognition that you have to be a friend to yourself – intimacy with oneself. The answer has everything to do with developing a good, intimate relationship to our own soul and the soul of others.

SOUL MATES

THE SOUL OF THE FAMILY

People living in the modern life often complain about a loss of traditional values and about feeling aimless, rootless and adrift. The culture of the family is a resource into which a person may dip throughout one’s life for direction, meaning and style.

One task is to forgive our parents for being imperfect. Life is much richer if we could let go of the excuse of parental failure and to establish a satisfying relationship with them. We benefit from the richness of a family and in particular of family stories, which identify who we are. The family may be one of the most powerful creative forces in our lives.

SOUL MATES

THE SOUL OF MARRIAGE

There is intermingling of souls that culminate in marriage – a demanding form of relationship. Marriage is a mystery, a sacrament and a sacred symbolic act. The interior of marriage is magical: it is fulfilling union that supplies a profound need for meaning, fulfillment and relatedness: a good home, fine children, happy days. Continue reading SOUL MATES

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ARE YOU AN ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN?

WHAT IS THEOLOGY?

ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN

Theology is neither a nine-to-five job nor a career. To know and speak truly of God is a vocation that requires more than academic or professional qualifications. The image you should have in mind is not the professor with a tweed jacket, but rather the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus. Becoming a theologian means following God’s Word where it leads with all one’s mind, heart, soul, and strength.

Theology is the study of how to speak truly of God and of all things in relation to God. But theologians can’t approach the object of their study the way biologists study living creatures or geologists the earth. God cannot be empirically examined. God is the creator of all things, not to be identified with any part of the universe or even with the universe as a whole. Speaking of God thus poses unique challenges. If God had not condescended to communicate to creatures something of his light, we would be in the dark.

BY GOD, OF GOD, TO GOD

Are you familiar with Thomas Aquinas’s definition? “Theology is taught by God, teaches of God, and leads to God.”

By God. Only God can make himself known. We’re simply children who love their father and want to know him better, who trust their father’s wisdom: And He (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”                                                                     Matthew 18:3

Of God. Theology is thinking hard about what God has taught about Himself and all things in relation to Himself.

To God. Theology is ultimately about cultivating godliness, in oneself and one’s community. A theologian is a certain kind of person, whose created intelligence has been illumined by the Holy Spirit.

It’s true, there is a guild of “professional” theologians—mostly academics who populate colleges, seminaries, and university divinity schools—and there are scholarly journals and awards to be had, not to mention salaries and sabbaticals.

Don’t confuse making a living as a theologian with living out the knowledge of God. If you aspire to speak of God, do so to please God, not people: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?” Galatians 1:10 We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”                                                                                              1 Thessalonian 2:4

When theology proclaims the deep mystery—God’s plan of redemption conceived “before the foundation of the world”: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”                                                                   Ephesians 1:4

It doesn’t promote cleverly devised myths, but reality. The world is passing away (even scientists agree, acknowledging that our sun will eventually burn out), but God’s Word endures forever:Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”                                                                                                                                          Matthew 24:35

Have you considered whether academic theology is your vocation rather than as a pastor or priest?

ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN

THEOLOGICAL THINKING

Let us begin with four adjectives (Trinitarian, biblical, catholic, and systematic) that qualify Christian theological thinking.

First, becoming a Christian theologian means developing a Trinitarian habit of mind.  God the Father has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ through the Spirit (what Irenaeus calls the “two hands” of God).

Second, the best way to stay focused on the subject matter of theology is to stay focused on Scripture.  It’s no coincidence that the most important figures in the history of theology—Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth—also wrote biblical commentaries.

C. S. Lewis’s distinction between looking at a beam of light and looking along it clarifies what’s at stake. Those who look at the biblical text analyze it from a critical distance. They see the text, but not necessarily what it’s talking about. In contrast, those who look along the text enter into its strange new world.

God addresses us in Scripture and requires our response. It involves reading all the books in the Old and New Testaments as parts of an overarching story. The theologian is a kind of cartographer of this new world.

The third thing you must do to acquire a theological habit of mind is to read the Word of God with and for the people of God.

The best theologians are apprentices to Scripture and to the consensual tradition of its interpretation. Catholicity is a well-known mark of the Church; it ought also to characterize theologians. Let the gospel be the center of your thinking, but let catholic tradition fill out its content and fix its circumference. Know this: evangelical and catholic are bedfellows, not rivals.

The fourth theological habit of mind involves thinking systematically  as we read the Word of God with the people of God. What unifies Scripture is the story of God’s determination to see through His purpose for creation to the end, a story in which Israel and the Church loom large, with Jesus Christ as its hinge and center.

PERSONALLY

Let’s turn to your question about the kind of person you need to become. The short answer is “wise”: a person with understanding who knows how to live out what he knows with three pairs of contrasting qualities. Continue reading ARE YOU AN ASPIRING THEOLOGIAN?

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