See link below for an audio version of this Mindwalk.
Broadening my horizons
When I was very young there was a small cherry tree in our backyard that I used to broaden my horizons. When I climbed it, I could see over the fences separating our backyard from those of our neighbors. I could see what their yards looked like and contained. My horizons were literally broadened.
In 1949 when I was eleven, I traveled over 20 hours in a prop plane to visit family in Germany. So many things broadened my horizons during the month we lived there. I will never forget the impact of riding along the still rubble-strewn streets of post-war Frankfort!
Sixteen years later I took a a similar flight in half the time and studied for a year in Switzerland.
Each of these experiences broadened my horizon. Each of these experiences enabled me to learn more about the world in which I Iived. I have crossed many boundaries, both geographic and mental, during fifty years of a very active ministry.
Most recently I have had the opportunity to slow down and explore my horizons. I still work on my computer. But I take many breaks. I have learned that walking my daily 2 miles in the corridors and the beautiful courtyard of our Motherhouse sets my mind free to wander. My inner horizons are still broadening. More and more, I am growing to see the world as Jesus and Vincent did.
Bede Griffith said he learned more in the previous year than in the preceding 80 years. I can relate!
Vincent’s Broadening horizons
Exploration of my inner space has opened me up to how Vincent expanded his horizons. His first horizon was a comfortable priesthood. Along the way he expanded his inner horizons with the help of spiritual mentors. His mentors opened his eyes to scripture. He learned to look at his world and the people encountered through the eyes of Jesus. He experienced a conversion. He chose to follow Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor.
Looking at the world through Jesus’ eyes transformed St. Vincent. First, he woke up to the spiritual and physical needs of the country poor. Then, in Paris, he realized that poverty was much more widespread than he realized. The whole world looked so different. He worked tirelessly and even inspired his companions to go out into the whole world. At the end of his life, it seems he thought there was so much more he could have done.
I suspect he learned more in the previous year than in his preceding 80 years.
A journey toward the horizons of our lives
Each of our journeys is different. But it helps to take stock from time to time of the journey we are on. We are different today than when we started what I call “Mindwalks” through the horizons of life.
As I reflect on Vincent’s journey I am struck by some facts. His mentors played a significant role in his life. They expanded his horizons. They taught him to see life through the eyes of the Jesus he discovered in Scripture. This changed the way he encountered each person no matter what their class or status.
These facts lead me to be grateful for the mentors I have had.
These facts lead me to be grateful for the Jesus I am encountering in the Gospels.
These facts lead me to be grateful that each person I encounter broadens my horizons.
I invite you to reflect on the ways your own horizons have expanded.
Click below for an audio version of this Mindwalk.
You might be interested in an earlier reflection “There must be a path here”