IT STRIKES ME that Jesus encouraged people not to be frightened of life because fear paralyses human beings and thus the ongoing work of creation is impeded – precisely because it requires our active participation. Life doesn’t just drop into our laps.
In Learning to Fall: the blessings of an imperfect life, Philip Simmons writes:
the world we choose hasn’t been imposed on us from without, but comes into being through us. In every moment we collaborate in the ongoing work of creation, including the creation of ourselves. For Joan Chittister, the Benedictine monastic, “we work because the world is unfinished and it is ours to develop”. Work, therefore, becomes a sacred responsibility, and choosing the world means choosing what we ourselves have made. As [Thomas] Merton writes, “It is only in assumng full responsibility for our world, for our lives and for ourselves that we can be said to live really for God”. To be responsible is to be responsive, to respond. All these words have their root in the Latin spondeo, which means “to promise”. To re-spond is not to promise for the first time but to promise again, not to begin a relationship but to renew one. (p.98)