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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

There’s More to Life than the Mind

July 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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The Lord Book Club (Week 3 of 23)

The mind must never allow itself to be misled into seeming ‘comprehension,' into facile sensations or phrases with nothing solid behind them. The whole problem is a mystery, the sacred mystery of the relationship of the triune God to his incarnate Son. We can never penetrate it, and knowledge of the incapacity must dominate our every thought and statement concerning Jesus' life.

The Lord, Part 1, Chapter 5, paragraph 6

I can't tell you how many times a phrase has driven me over the edge of sanity.

OK, I'm exaggerating. But only slightly.

Pause for a minute and think of the most maddening phrase you know, the one that gets under your skin.

And then stop for another minute and think about why it drives you a little crazy.

For me, that one phrase is one that has seemed to be on the tip of everyone's tongue for the last five years. They use it the way my kids use Kleenex, without any real consideration for what the true intention of the phrase is (or that it's a collection of empty words saying nothing).

People use phrases like these without really intending any deep thought. They are, in fact, the very example of facile that Guardini warns us against. They're superficial to a fault and easy to say.

Do we really mean it when we encourage someone to toughen up? To accept where they are? To offer it up?

Do we take our own advice when we're facing parallel situations?

It's all too easy to assume that we understand a situation, even from the inside of it, when, in fact, there is probably at least three sides to it that we don't see.

And just so, we can't ever really understand Jesus.

Not being able to understand something, not knowing how it works or why it's so or what its purpose is, doesn't sit well with me. I want to know. I want to be intellectual and stretch my mental muscles and flex my intelligence.

And yet, in the humbling experience of Christianity, we're called to trust beyond what we can know, to leap beyond where we can see, to lean into something no one can quite explain.

Jesus has much to teach us, it's true, and much of it is almost beyond the mind…and yet very much within the mind. The paradox isn't lost on me, nor the fact that I struggle to explain it.

Reading Guardini this week, I couldn't help but feel like there's a lot of rereading ahead of me…

 

Reading Assignment:

Chapters 7-10

Discussion Questions:

1. In Chapter 4, Guardini considers that perhaps John the Baptist was unsure about Jesus, that he needed some reassurance as to who Jesus was and what his mission was. When have you been unsure of Jesus' role in your life? How have you gotten through that challenge?

2. Chapter 5 considers Jesus' temptations in the desert and also the nature of fasting. When's the last time you offered “spontaneous self-denial” in thanksgiving? How can you fast with a joyful heart this week?

3. As Jesus calls his disciples (reference Chapter 6), we learn a bit about each of them and their strengths and weaknesses. Jesus is calling you, too. What strengths do you offer him? What weaknesses will he help you overcome?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at SnoringScholar.com and is the author of a number of books for families.

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