Friday, August 14, 2009

What do they need?

Okay, this one is a bit more on the philosophical side. There are two pieces of advice that I like, but they seem to contradict each other, and I'm wondering if they can be reconciled. One is a quote by philosopher/theologian Howard Thurman. The second is a homily of sorts from a book written by a monk in Colorado. If you have any thoughts, let me know!

"Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Howard Thurman

"There's a monk there who will never give you advice, but only a question. I was told his questions could be very helpful. I sought him out. "I am a parish priest," I said. "I'm here on retreat. Could you give me a question?"
"Ah, yes," he answered. "My question is, 'What do they need?'"
I came away disappointed. I spent a few hours with the question, writing out answers, but finally I went back to him.
"Excuse me. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Your question has been helpful, but I wasn't so much interested in thinking about my apostolate during this retreat. Rather I wanted to think seriously about my own spiritual life. Could you give me a question for my own spiritual life?"
"Ah, I see. Then my question is, 'What do they REALLY need?'"
- Tales of a Magic Monestary


I'm not a regular xkcd reader, but I've heard of the webcomic from several friends. I found this one to be somewhat appropriate, although I'm making it a point not to apologize for my lack of posts... :)