Ringma talks of 'learning the gentle art of letting go' or 'renunciation' as :
'a form of detachment that breaks the power of the immediate, the pressing and the dominating realities of our lives, which frees us for a re-engagement. This re-engagement is always new and different because our empty hands have been filled with God's new things' (2003:130)When I read this several weeks ago it made me consider what is it that we hold on? What is it that we need to let go? Where are our hands clenched firmly in resistance rather than open in surrender?
More recently I Ringma gave me this to think over:
we are called to transcend our familiar world. And in this we need to learn the art of detachment .... through detachment, one moves to emptiness, and in the emptiness one is found by God to see and experience life more truly from God's perspective. Detachment never begins in certainty, but only in faith. It starts in darkness, but leads to the hidden God who makes his way known." (2003:135)
But we like the familiar, but could it be that in the familiar we crowd out God? Could it be that the gentle art of letting go could be that of moving beyond that which is familiar?
Time magazine in September 2007 ran a fascinating article on Mother Teresa and her agony. Not her agony for the poor, not her agony for the marginalised, not her agony for the dying, the abused, the down trodden - her agony revealed in secret letters was that this remarkable woman of God spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God. 50 years!! Around the same time as receiving the Nobel Peace Prize she writes to a friend ...
"Jesus has a very special love for you ... as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, - listen and do not hear - the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me - that I let Him have a free hand."
She should have got herself along to Roots, or Spring Harvest; New Wine; Stonleigh - an annual worship fix would have sorted her out; someone should have sent her a CD or something!! Perhaps she knew detachment as the gentle art of letting go and that 'to pray is to acknowledge mystery. '
Ringma, C. (2003). Seek the Silences with Thomas Merton. Regent College Publishing.