Striving for the Narrow Door

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In the Gospel reading from today’s worship at St. Julian of Norwich, Jesus tells us to strive for the narrow door and that many who do so will not enter but will be shut out.  The reading is a particularly harsh lesson offered by Jesus in Luke’s gospel, and it deals with one of the age old questions with which people religious have concerned themselves.  As I sat reflecting on the reading after the sermon, I became aware that much of what I did this summer was done in an effort to help me journey towards that narrow door a little more humbly as I travel.

The summer spent as a CPE intern is a summer that is lamented by many seminarians throughout the junior year.  As the summer approaches, I continued to see CPE on the horizon with all of the anxiety and unknowns that came with it.  Now that I am on the other side of CPE, however, I am grateful for the lessons that I was able to learn during my time in San Antonio, TX at Baptist Healthcare System.  I am thankful that I had the opportunity to engage in a peer driven process that provides me with particular insights about myself.  Though it is often difficult to hear the truth about ourselves, I am thankful that I am now able to continue the learning throughout the next two years in seminary and throughout the rest of my life.

As Miles preached this morning, the way that we journey towards the narrow door matters.  It matters where we spend our money, it matters how we tend to our relationships, and it matters how we engage in community and in ministry to each other.  It also matters how we accept the difficult truths about ourselves.  I believe that it is important for each of us to reflect on how we engage with hearing those truths.  Can we accept the lessons that we learn about ourselves with humility?  Are we able to listen to honest feedback about ourselves and make an effort to improve in the areas that need improving?  I certainly hope that I can do that.  Now that CPE is finished, I have concrete learning goals to act upon.  I have a clear understanding of how others receive me and the gifts that others see in me.  The challenge before me is to continue striving for the narrow door through a continued life of prayer and worship.  As I continue in my formation as a postulant for Holy Orders, I must continuously remind myself of my new learning goals.

Now that the summer is coming to a close and I find myself preparing for a new year in seminary, I hope to continue to improve in many things, but I especially hope to continue learning how to walk humbly with my God and with my community.