Jesus Take the Wheel
Note: The articles in this six-part series will explore the traits of spiritual maturity described by Mathew Kessler, CSsR, in his reflection “A Reliable Compass” ("From the Publisher," December 2010).
Spiritual Maturity | Part 1 of 6
In the middle of the night, a man named Nicodemus visited Jesus. Nicodemus was a public leader, a Pharisee, whose world was swirling around him. He told Jesus, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God”—a bold claim on the heels of Jesus’ recent actions in the Temple. Jesus had just thrown out the merchants with the message, The Kingdom of God is at hand.
What did this message mean for those in Jerusalem who saw him dumping tables of money and sending birds and sheep flying? What did it mean for Nicodemus?
Will he see with new eyes? Will he be reborn? How deeply does Nicodemus want to trust Jesus? Enough to change his life to follow him? Enough to follow Jesus anywhere? (See Jn 3:1–10.) Jesus raised the stakes for his nighttime visitor even higher than he had raised them in the Temple.
Can you imagine yourself as Nicodemus, wanting to ask Jesus something late at night? Who hasn’t been up late, pondering into the night hours a problem or an important decision, finding oneself unable to sleep? As tough as these moments are, these dark, sleepless hours can be a place where we deepen our walk with God. And here is the strange twist: when we are in the dark, it may well be God’s Spirit who visits us—probing our deepest questions, our uneasiness, our as-yet-unfulfilled yearnings and talents, pulling us toward a deeper spiritual life.
Real growth toward a deeper spiritual life, navigating our journey toward a deeper spiritual maturity, will mean facing real challenges. Will we move past our initial questions? Will we learn from our failures? To gain spiritual maturity, we are asked to journey through both our insights and our disillusionments. We need a trustworthy guide, a compass for our way. What does a spiritual compass look like?