Stumbling over the stumbling stone
Sooner or later something always comes into life that we simply cannot deal with. We soon discover that our present skills, our acquired knowledge, and our strong willpower won’t help us. Spiritually speaking, we have been – we will be – led to the edge of our own private resources.
That’s why Paula D’Arcy says, “God comes to you disguised as your life.” And why Richard Rohr says, “ So we must stumble and fall (and that does not mean reading about falling, as you are doing here!)”
Three of Jesus’ parables are about losing something – the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son (see Luke 15:3-32). It seems that in the spiritual world, we don’t really find something until we first lose it – and in the end, the stumbling stone will lead us to discover a significantly new self.
For Jesus and for his followers, the crucifixion became the dramatic symbol of that absurd but necessary stumbling stone. Medieval Christianity made Jesus’ suffering and death into God’s attempt to solve some cosmic problem. But Jesus’s cross solved our problem by first revealing our real problem – our refusal to acknowledge the tragic sense of life, and our universal pattern of blaming – and then sacrificing – others.
Every Beauty is sleeping, it seems, before it can meet its Prince. Half of the world’s fairy tales of the world are some form of sleeping beauty, ugly duckling, or Cinderella story – telling of the little person who has no power or possessions who ends up being king or queen, prince or princess.
The duckling must be “ugly” or there will be no glory. Jesus must be crucified, or there can be no resurrection. It is written in our hard-wiring, but can only be heard at the soul level.
Richard Rohr suggests,
Write about a time when a situation took you beyond your resources to deal with it. Did the experience bring you to a new awareness of your capacity for surrender? Did you feel free when you realized you were not in charge of the ‘falling’? (Companion Journal, p. 58)