A series of reflections on spirituality, religious life and work with young people from a Salesian priest and youth worker in Great Britain.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Meaning is first of all an experience that might fleetingly be caught in words. It is a kind of hidden knowledge that, like love, cannot creep fully into language. It is energising, fascinating and elusive. Symbols and stories are the best way to access the broad sweep of meaning at an individual and at a group level.
Christians see meaning as an event, an experience and also a relationship that helps to make sense of life. The big Christian story is that cross leads to resurrection and to the outpouring of a new spirit. This pattern of dying, rising and inspiring is a way to make sense of all experience but it also does something more- it puts us all in relationship with whatever that meaning is. Living in that flow of dying,rising and inspiring becomes a way to live in relationship with the mystery of life- it makes everything personal- human.
Jesus looked at the mystery of his life and it's meaning and he called it Father. It is where he came from and the one to whom he would return. Therefore the question of meaning for Christians is personal, relational, emotional and energising. It is a faith in a person and a faith that seeks understanding.
Much of the ramifications of the Christian religion are an attempt to express this mystery and many of those ramifications are now old, tired or meaningless in this culture. However the core event- the life of Jesus- continues to give a personal and public meaning to life which young people need to have access to. One of the tasks of Salesian spirituality is to help young people find meaning and purpose and to offer them an experience of Christian meaning as a starting point for their journey