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Robert Fulghum’s bestseller All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten listed a number of things we learned in kindergarten. .

  • Share everything.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Etc.

We can add many other things that we learned in our earliest years.

  • Say thank you!
  • Say please!
  • Take turns on the swings!
  • Etc.

The bigger lesson

These lessons seem to point to a bigger lesson. The world does not revolve around us. We may be forgiven for thinking so in light of being the center of the world of doting parents. (Of course, that only lasts as long as we are the only child!)

These lessons are the unfolding of our personal Copernican revolution.

We spend the rest of our lives waking up more and more to others and the amazing world in which we live.  Eventually, most of us learn how to love others even when there may be nothing in it for me – just simply enjoying our world together. (Isn’t that what our Triune God said “In the beginning…”?

However, we never quite overcome the vestiges of our self-centeredness. We spend our lifetimes in an ever more profound process of dying in order to rise to new and richer life. That process began in the nice safe, secure, nourishing warmth of our mother’s womb. But then came the time when that womb became constricting and we had to risk dying to the womb in order to rise to a fuller life outside the womb… and then outside our crib… outside the security of our home… and, during teen years exploring an identity separate from our parents, discovering and creating our purpose in life.

The process of dying and rising is never complete until we enter the fulness of eternal life and fully appreciate the magnificence of all creation and the God who created all.

I have recently begun thinking maybe this self-centeredness is hinted at in what is called original sin. Chesterton seemed to evoke this when he wrote “original sin is a fact, an observable fact one can “see in the street.”

Jesus and Francis

Jesus entered into the limitations human life to model the process of dying and rising. By his life, teaching, death and resurrection he shows that unless the grain of wheat dies. Unless you are born again, and again, … It seems that until we are born again into eternity, we will struggle with what I would call the original sin of our self-centeredness.

Jesus modeled the ultimate systemic change in how we see ourselves and the world. He demonstrated our radical interconnectedness with all creation and responsibility for one another.

Pope Francis reminds us of God’s dream.

God dreamed that we would wake up and grow up to love everyone and everything as God loves. Pope Francis has written 3 powerful visionary documents unpacking this.

“Evanglium Gaudium” highlights the joy and excitement of waking up to the truly “Good news” that we are God’s beloved, brothers and sisters.

Laudato Si’’’ reminds us that everything is connected.

“Fratelli Tutti” teaches us that everyone is connected.”

In “Fratelli Tutti” he uses the image of the Good Samaritan to a dream how the structures of society must support living as a truly “neighborly” society. In # 127 he presents a world where we move beyond the original fault of self-centeredness to recognizing the worth of every human person.

Our process of waking up

  • How much does the fear of “letting go” hinder waking up and living God’s dream for us?
  • What selfish patterns must I die to in order to be “born again” to a new level of life … even now.

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk