Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No Language Gap

The term 'spiritual ideolect' is becoming part of my everyday thought, particularly in relation to the life of heart-cloister.  To refresh our memory (and so we don't have to keep looking it up), I'll return to the explanation presented by Connie Rossini: 'Everyone has an idiolect--a collection of personal speech habits that is different from anyone else's. Have you ever thought about your spiritual idiolect?  Since your soul is unique, you have a personal way of speaking to God that no one else completely shares.'

How does this relate to cloister of the heart?  I would say that we each have a particular way of living for God and speaking with God in the midst of the world... yet if we are bent on genuinely following God's will, we have the same Homeland and the same 'mother tongue.'   We use similar terminology, but we might think of it a bit differently.  For instance, when I use the word 'grille,' I generally picture a panel made of crisscrossed wooden latticework.  You may think of something in a wrought iron swirly pattern.

Yet when we go on to speak of seeing all things through this, and when we compare that to looking at life through the will of God, the same basic idea comes into play for both of us. 

The important thing - the thing that does not change - is that we are both choosing to view and respond to persons and circumstances as God instructs.  That is: according to Scripture and the authentic teachings of the Church.

Our friend 'Chloe,' on the other hand (a fictional person), might decide to primarily base her conduct on the counsel of a Hollywood celebrity.  While there may be no conflict (at times) between Scripture and the latest opinions of a television host, the host's words are not what we are called to live by.  Even when they're clever, humanitarian, and look nice embroidered on a pillow, the star's words will never be our grillwork.  Only Scripture and the teachings of the Church could ever make that claim.  Chloe might say that she is living as God wants, but if she never looks into Scripture or Church teaching to be sure, and if she's choosing to follow something other than these, her interpretation of  'as God wants' is not the same as ours.  There is a language gap.

With this in mind, I will offer a few more scriptures.  If we were to all read these aloud, we'd undoubtedly do so in a medley of regional accents.  And if I'm understanding the concept of spiritual ideolects correctly, we would read them with different heart-emphases as well.  Our backgrounds, memories, trials, formations would all come into play.

There is no language gap here, however - no matter how varied our backgrounds - when we embrace Scripture and Church teaching as the bases of our grillwork.

We know that no worldly exhortations, however enticing, could ever take their place.

'Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent,  but delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on His law day and night.   He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.'  (Psalm 1:1-3)

'Stay clear of worldly, idle talk and the contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.  In laying claim to such knowledge, some men have missed the goal of faith.'  (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

'All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching - for reproof, correction, and training in holiness, so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work.'  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

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