On Friday, November 7th, the Year of Spirituality came to its conclusion in the presence of the Brothers and laity of the Generalate. The prayer was substantial in length, taking into account as it did each of the chapters, rich in insight, of “Water from the Rock.” From each chapter a symbol was selected and upon the symbol were developed reflection and prayer. The overall theme of the prayer was the commentary of Spanish theologian José Luis Martin upon a phrase of Saint Albert the Great.
Saint Albert, the Great, speaks of three kinds of fullness: "the fullness of the glass that retains and does not give; the fullness of the channel that gives and does not retain, and the fullness of the spring that creates, retains and gives". This is a tremendous truth!
Indeed, I have known many receptacle-men. They are people that are devoted to collecting virtues or knowledge: they read everything, they collect titles, they know as much as can be known, but they believe that their task is finished when they have stored up all their goods. They share neither wisdom nor happiness. They have, but they do not share. They retain, but they do not give. They are magnificent, but magnificently sterile. They are simple servants of their selfishness.
I have known channel-men, as well: people who are ever uttering words and more words; people who spend their lives making and re-making the same things; they never reflect upon their knowledge; what enters into them through the ears goes out of them through their mouths without leaving a wellspring of know-ledge within them. They suffer from neurosis of action. They have to make many things and make them very quickly. They believe they are serving others, but sometimes their service is a way of calming their unrestful souls. We find channel-men among journalists, certain apostles, some priests or lay people. They give but they don't retain. And, after giving, they feel empty.
How difficult it is, on the other hand, to find wellspring-men, people that give what belongs to their souls’ very sub-stance, which they share as a bright flame, casting light upon their neighbour without diminishing their own, because they re-create all that they are living and they share all that they have re-created. They give without emptying themselves; they irrigate without fail, and they moisten around themselves without becoming arid. Christ - I think – must have been such a person. He was the unquenchable spring, the water that assuages the thirst for eternal life.
And we, ah!- maybe for us it would be enough, to be just one of those tiny streams descending from the heights of the great mountain the life.
What kind of man/woman am I: receptacle, channel or wellspring?