Putting proper names to what is happening inside our experience is the place where we can read the language of God.

Naming the Present Moment & A Retreat Opportunity

Ron Rolheiser, OMI

John of the Cross suggests that God’s daily word is written inside of ordinary experience. Our task is to examine our own experiences and try to name what God is saying to us inside of them, by using images from scripture and our faith tradition

For example, today, a group of believers today might ask itself: “What time are we living in? Is this the time of the desert? Is this again the time of the Babylonian exile? Are we on the road to Emmaus? Are we meeting Jesus, along with the Syro-Phoenician woman, on the borders of ethnicity, religion, gender? Are we in the upper room, awaiting a new Pentecost, taking seriously Jesus’ counsel to not leave the city until we feel ourselves clothed with power?”

And given our experience of being Christian within a post-ecclesial society, we might ask too: “What is God saying to us inside of a culture that is spiritual but not ecclesial, Christian but mostly bitter and grandiose about its own roots? Is this a time of pruning, of special humbling? What is our task in a time of ecclesial, historical dis-privilege? What should our waiting consist of?”

To pray and struggle to name our experiences biblically and in faith is to “read the signs of the times”. It’s also good spiritual direction as John of the Cross defines it.

I like a comment I once heard from Richard Rohr: “Not everything can be cured or fixed, but it should be named properly.”