There are certain words in any language which always seem to have a positive meaning, words that convey a welcome or pleasing suggestion.  One of those words in English is “open.”  Examples: an open sign on a door; the idea of an open house; a person who is described as frank and open; open-minded; open hearted.  We like people who have those qualities.

Yet when we take a long, hard look at our lives we may well discover that we have allowed ourselves unconsciously to become hemmed in, hardened and close by routine.  We can easily come to take for granted the wonders of the world about us, take for granted our friends, our families, even God.

By nature human being are not the most flexible beings in creation.  We tend to become less and les flexible with the passing of the years.  We can drift into a pattern that reduces life to an almost mechanical repetition of what we have found through experience to be the easiest way of getting by.

We can miss a great deal in life by allowing ourselves to become closed in mid and spirit, by refusing to grow, to push forward, to explore new possibilities.  That an happen to anyone, even the relatively young.

By contrast, we all know how pleasant it is to meet an older person who has the quality of openness to life, who retains a zest for life.  We commonly say of such persons they have grown old gracefully.  It might be better to say they have grown old only in years, not in spirit.

Being open does not mean we should try to revolutionize our lives by constantly seeking radical changes.  And being open in mind and heart does not mean accepting anything and everything uncritically.  To accept anything and everything is to stand for nothing.  It is rather a question of outlook, a question of the spirit in which we approach things.

The application of those ideas to our spiritual life is clear.  Without openness to God’s grace we would not be able to return to the Lord after a fall.  We would become hardened in sin.  What is less serious but still a great misfortune is we could become self-satisfied, content with the routine, mechanical repetition of our religious practices and fail to come closer to God, never grow in knowledge and love of God.

We are all challenged to always be open to the love and grace of God; to be open to the love and service of our brothers and sisters.