Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion ...
Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great ...
No one can deny how great is the secret of our religions ...
1 Timothy 3:16
(three different translations)
As we grow older, mystery most likely captures minds and hearts quite differently than in earlier years. A great difference between sci-fi and technological bafflings and after-life musings is evident. "De ja vu" experiences seem more plentiful as we turn calendar pages more rapidly.
So what is it, this mystery that is more captivating as time passes? It is at the heart of St. Paul's sentence (which ever translation rows your boat) to his younger colleague, Timothy?
As we package more wisdom into who we are, we see the world and daily life in it through changing lenses. It is the wisdom that is the gift of silence, the fruit of solitude experiences.
Paul grew older and through different events . His eyes were opened by his growth in wisdom. His moments of listening to the inner voice of the Spirit as well as to the traditions entrusted to new generations by the followers of Jesus were experiences of awe and amazement.
The continuation of this same 16th verse may well be the shortest life of Christ you will ever read:
Who was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angers,
proclaimed by Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.
The more you delve into the mystery of our religion, the more you will encounter the extraordinary graces offered to us by the God of mystery. The more you encounter this mystery, you will encounter the paradox that has attracted numerous saints. The more our God opens to us a peace and inner contentment. You will gain the strength to meet the worldly mysteries that challenge the followers of Jesus Christ.
Why is there so much joy and peace in the lives of most men and women who live lives of prayer and reflection in monastic settings? Why do other priests and religious as well as laity usually return from retreats with renewed spirits? The answer is this: they accepted an invitation to encounter "the mystery of devotion," "the mystery of our religion," "the secret of our religion."