Doing and Being
Luke 2:22-40, Mark 1:29-39
Richard Rohr, echoing Carl Jung, points out that the first half of life is predominantly a time of doing, while the latter part of life is generally focused
on being. This is backed up by contemporary psychologists who identify two different modes of mind. It does not mean that older people stop doing, nor does it mean that younger people give no thought to what life means. It is where the emphasis is most frequently placed.
Simeon and Anna were elderly people whose focus was on living with God.
Their mode of mind was being rather than doing. But out of the experience of being close to God they gave voice to the insight given them in identifying the
baby Jesus as the long-expected Messiah.
Doing and being – the Gospel needs both. The Church needs both. If we were all preoccupied with doing things in the church as part of our Christian service,
we would lose the very thing that we are trying to promote. If we were all absorbed in our enjoyment of being the beloved children of God, the world
would not hear the Word that God wants it to hear. Doing things in the service of Christ and living in the presence of Christ: it’s not an either-or choice,
it’s both-and, even if the balance sometimes swings one way or the other.
Mark 1:35 shows that Jesus refused to have his life taken over by doing. In taking himself off to pray he showed the importance of giving time to being
– understanding who he is, why he is doing what he does, and where his direction comes from.
• What do you understand by life focused on being in contrast to life focused on doing?
• Try spelling this out in relation to a mother. When is her life predominantly taken up with doing, and when is it focused on being?
• “If we were all preoccupied with doing things in the church as part of our Christian service, we would lose the very thing that we are trying to
promote,” What is it that we would lose?
• Who we are shows itself in what we do. Does what we do always show who we really are?