Wonder and reverence

Paul Blighton, probably with the help of others, created a very useful “Lenten Calendar” of meditations for the Holy Order of MANS.  My favorite is this one:

To forgive without seeking forgiveness.
To love and to keep affection in the face of misunderstanding.
I vow to set my thoughts upon things I value and spend my strength in the fulfillment of noble purpose.
To reverence the reverences of others rather than what they revere.

The last line has been especially useful to me.  We don’t have to agree with the objects of the reverence, veneration, and/or worship of others, but the very movement of reverence in them is worthy of our respect.  Reverence pulls us beyond the little boundaries of our personalities.  Even if misdirected, it is a beginning.  Phyllis Phillips used to make the same point in her Rudolf Steiner study groups, although she preferred to call it wonder.   Wonder, however limited, can be the engine to set us forth on our journey. Steiner writes (in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, p.7):

If we do not develop within ourselves this deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to something higher.  The initiate has only acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion.

We may start with something limited, but true wonder will propel us further.  This Lent, can I bow before reverence, wonder, veneration, and devotion when I meet them in others, even if I don’t understand or agree with how these movements of soul are directed?  And how can wonder and reverence come to color my own life in more profound ways?


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