We find within ourselves a deep desire to live an epic story, to be free to go on an adventure that means something. And yet we constantly find ourselves dissatisfied. Could something as “interior” as growth in our relationship with God actually satisfy this thirst for adventure? I’d like to try and expound a bit on where we left off two weeks ago with G. K. Chesterton.
You will have real obligations, and therefore real adventures when you get to my Utopia. But the hardest obligation and the steepest adventure is to get there. *
So – how do we depart on this adventure that climbs and continues into eternity? And how can we be freed from the constraints that keep us from this adventure? To answer these, I’ll turn again to Fr Jacques Philippe’s book, Interior Freedom.
The first thing to consider is, as Fr. Philippe points out, “We shall always come up against painful restrictions. We can overcome a certain number, but some are inflexible: physical laws, the limitations of our human condition and of life in society, and plenty more.” (15-16) We are thus inevitably hindered in our search for adventure – on one hand, being blocked from spontaneously rushing forth on an epic journey, and on the other, being constrained by physical reality from really reaching a satisfying quest’s end, from “reaching the sun,” so to speak.
So instead, we must turn the whole thing on its head. The real solution is not actually in eliminating the inevitable external restrictions. Instead, it’s in changing our hearts. (20) Instead of wresting with these restrictions, we must actually welcome them into the adventure. We freely choose them, as Fr. Philippe puts it (45). And as we do: “Externally there is no visible difference, but internally everything is transfigured: fate into free choice, constraint into love, loss into fruitfulness. … Our lives no longer have in them anything negative, ordinary, or indifferent.” (57-58) With each choice to welcome each thing God places before us in our lives, at times easy and at times quite difficult, what at first appeared mundane begins to glimmer with an incomprehensible, transcendent, adventurous beauty.
And in fact, it is here that we begin our first real adventure – because, all of a sudden, it’s not about taking more holidays or watching more movies. Our adventures are no longer mere breaks from life. All of a sudden, nothing can keep us from the adventure! We stop “waiting to live” as we begin “fully accepting the reality of our present lives,” (90) fully accepting the beauty of the divinely granted purpose of each little thing, and fully available to be swept off by the divine story. In this adventure – “We must be ready to do in an instant just what we hadn’t expected, to live in total self-abandonment, with no other concern than doing God’s will and being fully available to people and events.” (93)
Slowly, by God’s grace, we leave our citizenship of the mundane lands to become creatures of the Land of Adventure. We get “in on the secret” of God’s story. And rather than being limited by the finiteness of an earthly journey, we rush on always into the inexhaustible further up and further in! We learn the true meaning of adventure, as we live in the spontaneous, powerful, terrifying, thrilling and joyful life of God’s love.
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