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Issue Date:  December 14, 2007

The real wizardy of Oz

Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin defined contemplation as “the world becoming luminous from within as one plunges into human activity.” St. Teresa of Avila tagged it “awareness, absorbed and amazed.”

A good parable about how a contemplative stance in the world works is “The Wizard of Oz,” a film that’s chock-full with dark tornadoes, witches sporting striped socks, officious munchkins, fanged flying monkeys and bad puns. With its open-eyed gaze at aspects of nature that don’t dance in goody two-shoes, some tots watch it stiff with fright. We learn though that the larger-than-life figures and scenes over the rainbow turn out to be the same people found in our kitchen, in the backyard, in the landscape down the street.

When you know down in your rusting joints and up in your straw-filled head that you live in a world where the Incarnation took place, in a sacred cosmos, well, the ordinary is always extraordinary. The way to the Emerald City is an adventure that tests our courage, compassion and wit -- as good a definition of spirituality as any. A contemplative stance is the most reliable guide in this enterprise.

The real wizardry of Oz turns out to be the insight that our feet are shod with the magic of our heart’s desire, always have been.

National Catholic Reporter, December 14, 2007

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