"So mystery, the notion that something wonderful can happen at any time if we will only allow space for it, takes us into a whole new awareness of the immanence of God in time," so writes Sister Joan in our reading for today.
Mystery, wonder, astonishment...they all name something similar--a capacity we all seem to be born with and that we all seem to leave behind as we "grow up." As children, we don't talk about these things, this way of knowing and experiencing the world. It just is the way we are the way the world is. It's only as we age, certainly when we become parents, that we see how it plays out in children--it is only then that we name it and delight in it. And, if we allow it, our children draw us into their assumption of mystery and wonder. As a parent, how I miss those days. Oh, how many of those days I missed.
Sister Joan's focus is not on the sense of mystery we have left behind as much as the entrance into the mystery we are in the midst of and that lies before us. She writes of the sense of mystery we grow up into not out of. She talks of how our daily routines can become blinders to mystery, distractions from the extraordinary.
There is a connection between innocence and mystery, don't you think? Which is why we so readily associate a sense of mystery with children. The danger, of course, with identifying mystery with the innocence of childhood, is that we reduce a sense of mystery to a long lost, impossible to be regained, naiveté.
But what if our delight in a child's love of mystery is the indication of a capacity within ourselves that has not been lost as much as forgotten? Although dormant, it remains resident in us. It's re-engagement does not require the denial of our maturity--rather, it it becomes the final expression of it.
The poet Christian Wiman writes, “The frustration we feel when trying to explain or justify God, whether to ourselves or to others, is a symptom of knowledge untethered from innocence, of words in which no silence lives, of belief occurring wholly on a human plane. Innocence returns us to the first call of God, to any moment in our lives when we were rendered mute with awe, fear, wonder."
So Jesus spoke on several occasions, "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:17).