Evangelical life is gospel life, a life centered on living the gospel, following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. ... The foundation of evangelical life is the human person and the sharing among persons of the experience of Christ. ... We might say that the primary purpose of evangelical life is to imitate Christ and to make that experience of Christ available to others.
*Ilea Delio. Clare of Assisi: A Heart Full of Love.
Musings of a Modern Day Contemplative Mystic
If I am to be truly a Christian I must enter into an experience, as the Latin root says it experientia. And as the root meaning, "trial, test, experiment," implies, I cannot be merely an observer. For this experiment is of my own soul with God moving within and among the elements of everyday life, transforming them and myself through an alchemy of love that will require again and again courage. I will have to test the Gospel in the immediacy of my own liveliness touching upon the rudiments of the world. My life will either prove or disprove my faith in the Truth for which I am to anchor for spiritual life and eternal hope.
This experience is not just any experience. This experience offers me an alternative to the deadly experiences all around me, the experiences that drain vitality and close the heart, the experiences that fail to fulfill the deepest aspirations planted by God in the soil of the human heart. These other experiences come as echoes of true Love, but at their end one is not only divided from others, but divided also from himself or herself, once more.
Therefore, as a Christian, my only calling is to subsume all I am, all I aspire for, and all my relationships to Christ. I must trace my every longing in all these matters to their Source. There I will find, not the contradictory and selfish "God" claimed by so many as being the evangelical way; rather, I will find the God in Christ who shows me the Source of my own longing by that One ceaselessly pouring Himself out that I might in Christ do the same. Then, I shall, likewise, prove that in giving myself I have lost nothing, rather I have gained myself and more to give.
In this evangelical way, I cannot simply claim a faith or preach a gospel. I must be the faith and the Gospel. I cannot simply celebrate that God gave Himself for me. I must give myself. And I must give myself never knowing what that fully means and knowing that I will never do it perfectly. Yet, I am comforted to know that I can have perfect longing, even though I fail to perform perfect service.
In what ways are you needing to open yourself to a true experiment with the Christian faith? What changes might this make in the way you live daily?
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