Today is John Cassian Day! You are excited, right? Well, probably not, since most of us think history is, well, history. We don’t think about it. We might even try to ignore our own past, even though most of it can be drawn up on a video feed.
Making history and being part of a glorious history is another alternative trait Circle of Hope preserves. We think of ourselves as part of the transhistorical body of Jesus Christ. We are members of a huge spiritual family, stretching back over a couple of thousand years. We can trace our ancestry right back to the first born from the dead, the first among many siblings: Jesus.
Many of our ancestors are great, like John Cassian. I remember him as the young man who got inspired by the alternativity of the Egyptian monks and retooled their individualistic inspiration into a community-based expression that started something big in Europe. I remember him as the one who stood up to Augustine’s sense of “fate” as elemental to Christianity with his own sense that we are relating to a loving God for whom we long, seek, or miss our whole lives.
Celebrating John reminds me to respect myself and celebrate YOU, too. You are important to God and part of the history of Jesus in the world, whether you are following Him or not. And you have spiritual descendants, one way or another, whether you think you are spiritual or not. History is being made, not just happening to us. And we are all called to make a difference in it. I think we are doing just that.
We have a whole blog for this stuff: Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body. There is more about John Cassian there.