Mary in the midst of Chaos

   - Part 5

Imagine you are on the reflection day.

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Part 4

If you think about your life, if I asked you to pick a significant change that occurred in your 30s? You would pick an event. Something that happened. When did the change actually begin?

Long before the event.

I challenge you to do this. You can pick any event out of your life. The change normally begins with an experience of chaos. But, we identify a change when it reaches a point of order.

Typically, what happens is, I leave school and I don’t know what I am going to do. I try all sorts of things. When I am about 26 I decide to try and be…a ventriloquist.

When you ask a person they will say “that was a big moment. When I was 26, I decided to be a ventriloquist.”

But, in actual fact the process started back here at 19. With me searching to discover what I will become. Life does not do the split we do. For life chaos is becoming a point of order and recognition. All significant moments of order will lead to a next chaos. It is their purpose.

So if I get rich at this point. I think I will become a ventriloquist. Then I start to become one.

If I become a very good ventriloquist, it will place me in moments which will disturb my life and draw it to the next point of growth. The very fact I have come to a point of order, will offer the next beginning of chaos.

This is how we are designed. This is not a fault. God is sitting up in heaven saying “this is some of my best work”.

From God’s perspective, if it was only a process which went from chaos to order, we would solidify and stop growing. God was very clever and built into the whole process. A sort of thing that this flows to here and the moment this is solid, it starts to unravel and begin the next moment. We are designed for that. It is what I believe is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit is right at the heart of the work of chaos and order.

It is continually taking us from one to the next.

I am not saying this makes chaos any easier to live with. It is still emotionally disturbing. If in your head you can understand that this is not a sign that I am wrong (chaos). This is not a sign that I am right (order). That is the thing we do in our head which makes chaos hard work.

When things start to fall apart. Typically, most human begins see this as “I must have done something wrong…”. Something is not working here. Something is failing. When in actual fact it is more likely something beginning and becoming.

Why do we prefer order so much?

More simple.

A guy has just flogged the money. (A random man ran into the room and stole the Marist Laity donations for the event).

…….gap cut out… in chaos….

Wendy was just saying, she has just reached a point of order and was hoping this would stay for a while. People like myself, who are comfortable in this (chaos), we find it difficult if these times (order) difficult if they go on too long. You may find this as odd, and it probably is. But, people are designed in all sorts of different ways.

Please don’t hear me say that you would prefer to live in chaos. No, that is not true at all. We are actually designed in who we are created and who we are to become. A family to prefer one of these spaces over another.

What I want you to get to is where you do not fear the other space. Where you don’t fear chaos or you don’t fear order.

Why is order preferably to lots of human beings?


Gives them a sense of peace.


A certain constant.

You feel safe.

This is the interesting thing, actually the good words we put on it. For most people what they like about order is that they feel that they are in charge of their life.

Here I am on this side of the fence. I have order. I feel I am in charge of my life. I have been leading a good life and I have said “look God I want you to be in charge of my life and to take me where ever”. Here I get to where I am nicely ordered. I am now in charge of my life. Typically when I get to here, our understanding of what God is meant to be doing, is that God will do what I think should happen next. Because I am now in charge of my life.

You can understand from God’s perspective standing over here. This was a great point because I was in dialogue with God (chaos). This is a difficult point because I am now in charge (order). When God sends the Holy Spirit to work with me at this point, the only definition God is, disturb them and get him moving. You can understand why from a perspective of spirituality and my relationship with the larger spirit of life. God is always seeking in part to disturb my order. Not because the order is wrong, but because I quickly move to being my own version of God. I am in charge of my life. It should work like this now.

Do you understand what the problem is?

It is not actually orderliness. It is who I presume is bringing the order. This goes right back.

Great story. Adam and Eve is one of the most insightful about the core tendency of human beings. When it gets to the part about the tree of knowledge. It says that “human being having discovered themselves being so gifted by God. Try and claim the tree of knowledge for themselves so that they can be their own gods. That is the central claim of Adam and Eve. This is true forever. This is what we do.

Give us a nice space. One the things people say about the brothers. We are very good at making bad into good. Give us a messed up yard and we will turn it into a lovely yard within a period of time. But, we don’t keep asking God, what does God want for this yard any more. Many of us over time start to protect our yard against what God wants. Because we have got used to it being lovely in this fashion.

It is important you realise that these two things are part of the rhythm of life which God’s spirit uses to keep us moving and growing and becoming. They are key actions of the Holy Spirit. That is why we do not need to fear either of them.

The problem of the church for the last 400 years, is that it came to a space of order, and decided it was so good that it would keep it for the next 400 years. The only trouble is that the Holy Spirit is trying to intervene all along those 400 years. To move it and grow it. Instead, it set up a premise that it did not need to do any of that. That is why over the last 60 years we have all been struggling. Not because anything went wrong, but because for 400 years we stalled.

This is a personal thing that happens as well. If you look in your own life and in the life of people you love. You will notice that some people stall at some point growing. If at any other time they start to try and grow again, it is actually a painful process. Not because what they are trying to do at 40 is not valid, but simply for 20 years they have stalled. It is always painting to start a process again.

In your own life, always remember that the fact that there is paint connected to growth, is not necessarily an indicator of wrong. Should not be doing this now. It is sometimes an indicator that you have been paralysed. You have been stuck in a space. And that the Holy Spirit has finally found a way a little thread into your life that he can pull or she can pull to unravel some of that stuckness. That is what is painful. That is the key thing with this.

You may change your attitude to order and chaos. One that you realise that they are one and the same. But also, that they are the action. That is where God is working. While you always prefer one or the other. Because it is the nature of your personality. You should not fear either of these.

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Part 6

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10 August 2021

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Brother Graham Neist FMS

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