Father Micheal Curran
Living and Growing
We live in an incredible world. The diversity of land, nature and people who live on Planet Earth has always amazed me. I have often wondered what my life would be like if I was born and nurtured in China or India; maybe the Middle East or some other faraway land. It's hard to fathom, but if we look very closely at ourselves it is through the gifts of God that "we are who we are" and have been nurtured by traditions because of our ancestral heritage or geography or family community. As Matthew Fox, a priest and author of may books on spirituality appropriately described it, "We are one river but many wells."
It is not easy being human. We find ourselves up against many obstacles not only to surviving but to living lives of quality and happiness. As we are members of a whole body, we must live in a world where there is war, famine, natural catastrophes, poverty, oppression, sickness and hate. The journey of a human being is not easy.
It is not simple either. Our strongest assets of language, intelligence and creative powers can also get us into our deepest quagmires.
There is one thing though, that can make our human lives, our existence, more meaningful. It can give us strength and courage to live and navigate our lives around so many troubled waters. And that is a healthy spirituality. When religion is true to itself and is itself healthy, it is about spirituality. Spirituality is the core of any religion. But religion can become distorted and misused. Religion can develop its own institutional ego, even while it preaches to individuals about the need to humble oneself.
Spirituality is like living water that springs up in the very depths of the experience of faith. To drink from your own well is to live your own life in the Spirit of our Lord God Creator. Whether it be from the Well of Jesus, Bahaullah, Krishna, the God of Abraham, Mohammad or other prophets, the spiritual journey is thirst-quenching, refreshing and touches every dimension of our lives. Spirituality is the healing, reconciling and liberating force in human life.
In times like ours, when our planet is reeling from abuse and misuse at the hands of humans, when our ability to connect with each other across the globe can be within seconds, when livable space for our own selves and the Creator's other species is dwindling, we might want to take a long, refreshing drink from our spiritual well. It might help us quench our parched journey. We might want to acknowledge and taste the waters from other wells and discover that those wells can nurture us too. Jesus of Nazareth said, "Love one another. It is my Commandment to you." He didn't quality or quantify. He meant everyone. He nourished a woman at the well and embraced her as His own. Let's embrace the diversity of wells that we all drink from and get spiritual nourishment from them all.
Father Michael Curran is the priest of St. Brendan's Episcopal Church in Juneau.