One of the joys I have in this stage of my journey is to be working with the Benedictine Sisters at St. Scholatica in Duluth. The sisters found me through a fellow pilgrim. The longer I work in their spiritual direction program the more comfortable I am being on the team. I have been learning to conform to the spiritual rhythms that are found in the monastery. The people in the spiritual direction program come for various parts of northern Minnesota. I would classify the 3o persons in this present class as “seeking pilgrims.” Being with a room of such earnest, seeking souls is truly a joy for me. Many of these folks have given up on traditional church. They have dabbled in various forms of spirituality. Their journey has now taken them to Scholastica.
I mention this to the wildmen who read this blog, because I want to share a testimony of God’s grace and goodness in my life. It is truly by his grace and mercy that I can be a part of the work at Scholastica. Even though there are many varied opinions regarding the spiritual journey, I find myself stimulated to engage fellow pilgrims on an intentional journey. I am secure in my center. It is simply Jesus, who brings me to the Father, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. Scripture is the rock of my view of reality. I live as “a beloved sinner’ who has come to experience the love of God at ever deeper levels of my soul. I simply want to be a presence of this love among fellow pilgrims
So I can truly say that at this stage of my journey the the power of Christ can work through my weaknesses. Three times in II Cor 11 &12 Paul talks about boasting of his weaknesses. “If I must boast,” say Paul, “I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am” (II Cor 11:30). Again in II Cor12:5 he declares, “I will boast only about my weaknesses.” Finally in II Cor 12:9 the Apostle tells us, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” My weaknesses are many. What amazing me, as I find myself at Scholastica, is to find the comfort level I have with such a varied group of pilgrims. I have always felt that one of my greatest weaknesses was the articulation of my spiritual life with those who are not similar to me. I find joy and freedom in sharing my story in a way that does not turn of those who are outside the church. This is truly the work of God. It is a manifestation of his power in my story.
I say this to encourage each of you wildmen. At least in my life, coming to the place of being authentic and integrated enough to be with such a varied group, has been to result of what I would call, “death and resurrection.” It is the death to the false self, with all the personal and religious baggage, and then the resurrection of the “true self” in Christ. What has been the most difficult aspect of this death and resurrection process is the continually realization that it has nothing to do with me. My part is to learn to surrender and let go. Men, this is a life long process. I am still going through death and resurrection. My work at Scholastica is a testimony to the power of God at work in my weaknesses. I can do this work, because it is the life of Jesus at work in my, not my doing. More and more of my story is simply what Jesus is doing and has done. I pray this for each of you men who read this blog. I am a testimony to how God can change and use a man in the most unlikely manner. In this I find great joy.