Q: This is about the wording of the Contemplative Outreach Theological Principle 16 – “We acknowledge that any good accomplished by CO is the work of the Holy Spirit”. It is the word ‘good’ that bothers me. It is a value judgment word that means different things to different people. How do we judge what is good, and if it is not good, what is it?
A: You are right in saying the word ‘good’ has different meanings for different people. Here is where I am coming from on this question. I am thinking of this Scripture: ‘We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose ‚Ä¶ What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us.’ [Romans 8: 28, 31]
How do we judge if what is coming from us is good or not good? According to the teaching of Contemplative Outreach, this is a matter of whether the action is coming from the true self or the false self. In general, that which leads to greater communication, cooperation and collaboration – a greater sense of unity – is likely coming from the true self. That which leads to division and dissention is likely coming from the false self.
However, one never knows for sure. ‚ÄòThe Spirit blows where it wills.‚Äô [cf John 3:8] Sometimes an activity from the false self can move a situation to greater clarity and dedication because it is bringing up something that needs to be healed, forgiven or celebrated. And sometimes an action from the true self, because of improper or mixed motivations, can create confusion.
Because of these ambiguities, the good is best judged over the long term, where the fruits may be seen more clearly. I believe CO looks upon the term ‘good’ in this way. This is a brief answer to a very complex question. – Fr. Carl
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