The need for contemplation

Columban - Fr Noel Connolly - You don't have to save the world | The need for contemplation  

'The need for contemplation ' is the sixth in a series of video reflections presented by Columban Fr Noel Connolly.

I have great news for you today. You don't have to save the world. The Church doesn't have to save the world. God will save the world. Our job is to play our part along with men and women of good will throughout the ages. To be relevant, stay involved and maintain our hope and sense of humour.

I used to think I had to save the world. That is why I became a missionary. I was prepared to give my life for others. But the longer I have lived the more I have realised that if you take too much responsibility people will let you. They will leave everything to you. If we take too much responsibility we are showing little faith.

Our job is to get rid of our Messianic aspirations and to help others to be free of theirs. Outside of Jesus there are no Messiahs. We all have to take our share of responsibility for ourselves, the world and others.

Missionaries are normally active people with more than their share of initiative. We want to get things done. But we have to be attuned to God's purposes. Otherwise I may end up preaching the Gospel of Noel rather than the Gospel of Jesus and building the Kingdom of Noel, one that has little to do with God and more to do with my own plans.

So to avoid these dangers we need to be contemplatives, truly spiritual people attune to what God wants and capable of recognising the Spirit in others. In strange and new situations the spiritual will not be obvious. It won't have a sign on it identifying it as spiritual. We will only recognise it if we are deeply spiritual ourselves.

I always think of St Peter with Cornelius. When he was back in Jerusalem and was being challenged by the other apostles and disciples as to how could he eat with a pagan, his defense was. I recognised the same Spirit as we had received.

Hopefully we too will be able to recognise the Spirit when we encounter her.

Video filmed by Matthew Howard (Communications Officer, Redemptorists, Australia and New Zealand).