I felt I needed to check news headlines this morning as I had been rather “out of the loop” during a whirlwind week playing “catch-up” with myself. It was an interesting few minutes. Most of what I read were a number of interpretations of the debate performances of one or all of the ten top candidates of the Democratic Party for our next President of the U.S.A. Everyone has an opinion and, although I do realize many of the reporters do their “homework” before, during and after events such as these, I will now be better off reading transcripts of what they really said and following my own heart in making decisions. I would wish for some face-to-face time with each one of those still standing but will have to settle for replays and reflection for the next several months.
After my foray into the news headlines I spent some time with Joan Chittister’s Wisdom Distilled from the Daily. Sister Joan always has a way of pulling me back into my own head and heart with just the right words. (I would do well to support her for some lofty political office, I think.) Here’s what she said that, by way of analogy, reinforced my confidence this morning.
Benedictine spirituality is, then, the spirituality of an open heart…At one point in the monastic life, I was sure that knowing the Rule and practicing its practices was the secret of a holy life. Now I know that knowing the document will never suffice for listening to the voice of God wherever it may be found. No longer do I hope that someday, somehow, I will have accumulated enough listening so that there will be no further questions about pious practices that can easily be learned. Now I have only a burning commitment to those qualities of the spiritual life that must be learned if I am to grow. (p.24-25)
It’s far-fetched perhaps as a way to proceed in winnowing the political field for office, but I do think there is a relevance in Sister Joan’s comments. It’s up to me to go beyond the words offered by the candidates, to feel their motivations and check their past and present actions for what is really the make-up of their agenda – to the best of my ability, of course. And in the end, to pray for wisdom and the best hope for the future of our country.