While keeping the “rules” is important in varying degrees, ever more important is our fundamental role as followers of Jesus of being open to the Spirit for ongoing conversion, of learning what it is to follow Jesus in our own circumstances. Everything in our tradition has for its purpose leading us to this conversion and to encounter Christ in our everyday life.
The Marines, Sailor, and Soldier who were KIA this week were living for something beyond their own comfort and convenience, a cause beyond themselves. Jesus said that what comes from our hearts — our values — are what defile us or improve us. Our values show us who we really are. As we take a serious look at our values we come to know ourselves better. When we are open to the Spirit and to conversion, what seems to happen is a change in the values we use to make our choices and decisions. When we focus on keeping all the rules, the emphasis is on us and what we do, and it puts us in the position of thinking we can judge others. Being open to the Spirit puts the emphasis on God and our openness to conversion. The rules keep everything neat and orderly in our minds, but as we know, life is not neat and orderly, and the Spirit happens in real life as it is. Being open to conversion leads to doubt, uncertainty, questioning, and growth.