The Inward and Outward Journey

" The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon." (John 1:35-39)

John the Baptist points his disciples toward Jesus.  John has done his job, calling people to a baptism of repentance, and now hands them off to the one who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit - Jesus, the Lamb of God.  It is time for John to decrease, and for Jesus to increase.  (see John 3:30)

Our life of faith is both an outward journey and an inward journey.  Our life works best when these are connected and we are paying attention to both.  Richard Rohr calls it action and contemplation.  Our action in the world is most effective when it is being informed by regular times of prayer and contemplation.  And as soon as you start doing some kind of ministry, you will realize that you need more time in prayer... more direction from God!  And so the cycle continues...

When Jesus told these two disciples of John to "Come and see", he was inviting them to follow his example, in a life that would include both prayer and action.  The life of prayer and contemplation is supposed to lead to a deeper awareness of God, a deeper awareness of other people and the planet, and a deeper awareness of our own self - to a deeper consciousness, generally.  A growing consciousness then informs our actions in the world.  In the process, we are opening ourselves up to be transformed by the living God!

Here are a few questions related to your ongoing transformation:

If you are involved in some kind of conflict and think it is all about the other person, take another look, and ask this:  What am I a contributing to this conflict?  What do you want me to learn, Lord?  (God is often encouraging us to take that next step out of our comfort zone.)

Ask yourself:  How am I different than I was a year ago?  Am I a better listener?  More compassionate?  More generous?  More disciplined at prayer?  Less judgmental?  More able to talk about my experiences of God?  Do I more consistently look for the good in others, rather than what is wrong with them?  (Give thanks to God for this transformation, whatever it is!)

"Come and see" is more than an outward journey.  It is also an invitation to explore our inner world - with God's help.