Tag Archives: spiritual maturity

Piñata Syndrome

Smash him for candy?

Arizona isn’t the only place struggling with immigration issues. My county in Pennsylvania is too.

Some drunk teens, in a nearby town, beat a Mexican man to death, and their (mind you, local-and NOT exactly urbane) peers on the jury fully exonerated them all. Whether the man was an illegal immigrant is not the main issue. (Many have said, “If he was in his own country it wouldn’t have happened. He got what was coming to him.”) His life was taken by thugs, a proper punishment is important.

The Feds have stepped in, and a different outcome for the teens may occur. There is lots of corruption tied to authorities in that region as well. (The latest of that news here.)

This problem of groups and individuals taking out their aggressions on weaker or less powerful people is actually a spiritual problem. It takes many forms, most typically some sort of bullying, but also an attempt at degradation is a classic symptoms. I think, in some ways, we all can do it. Yelling at the kids, railing on other drivers, malicious talk, and of course beating someone up with your karate moves.

I call it Piñata Syndrome: It is s when one person (or group) takes it upon himself (or themselves) to mistreat or abuse another, hoping to get some candy in the end (so to speak).

Who are other famous piñatas in history?

The most amazing human piñata of all?

I’d say Jesus Christ. He took our beating (and death sentence), by those hoping to “get candy” (or some sweet deal) from doing so.

Here’s the twist, you may not like as much: Jesus asks his followers to do the same as he did. Self-sacrifice. “Take up your (piñata) cross, and follow me”.

Are we treating people (or groups) like piñatas, or are we being a piñata, in some way, for the sake of Christ?

What are some other examples of piñata syndrome?

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otium sanctum means…

(photo: Thomas Merton)

A friend’s comment spoke volumes to me, so I wanted to devote a post on the idea.

“The key to spiritual growth is otium sanctum, so hard to trust in our world that values efficiency and quick results.” -Doug Jackson (Excerpt of his comment on the previous post.)

On page 85 in his book, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, Thomas Merton explains otium sanctum:

Now the Fathers of the Church well understood the importance of a certain “holy leisure”  [or] “otium sanctum.” We cannot give ourselves to spiritual things if we are always swept off our feet by a multitude of external activities. Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and there is plenty of  time for it to mature.

Otium Sanctum is part of the not doing– It’s the “hard work” of that. The notion is paradoxical certainly, but bluntly revelatory.

How do you “not do” in your life, or for God which brings you to greater maturity?

Do you think God does or does not function with otium sanctum?

If so, how?

Thanks for your participation on this one.