One of the requirements of being Institute Leader is to travel quite often, throughout the Institute or to meetings overseas. It is not uncommon for those of us who do travel, to spend the first few seconds of each day asking the question ‘where am I again?’ While all of us I am sure, think of nothing better than to sleep in our own bed, it does the raise the question about where is home, where do we belong and what is the constancy in one’s life in a continually and rapidly changing world.
In these situations the old cliché ‘home is where the heart is’ perhaps rings true. It may not have been the original meaning behind this cliché, but in my view the only home we truly have in life is in our heart and our heart connection with others, our planet and God. Although all of us instinctively know this, we foolishly become preoccupied and attached to ‘bricks and mortar’ as we seek to ‘build our home’. We ultimately find that concrete, wood, stone or whatever our houses are made out of are unsatisfying and no substitute for building and finding the true home that lies within our hearts, the place where we belong. Finding that place means that wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves, we can experience the sense of being at home by being held in the loving arms of our universe and of God.
While Jesus reminded us that the ‘Kingdom of God is among you’ (Luke 17:21), our lives can be full of so many distractions that may take all of us away from this somewhat simple truth. Coming home and rediscovering our hearts does seem difficult at times. In my experience, two ways of making this journey are through the inward practice of prayer and meditation, as well as the outward action of opening eyes, ears and self to the call of others. While this may sound paradoxical, we must journey inwards so that we can be open to journeying outwards and reaching into the world around us. And in this, by opening our hearts to our world, we actually come to know ourselves.
So next time we speak the words, ‘I am off home’, may we remember that the true home for all of us lies in our hearts and in the heart of God.
Berneice Loch rsm