"Once you know there is an implanted and positive direction to creation, you can go with the primary flow (faith); eventually you will learn to rest there (hope); and you can actually live this outflowing life with gracious trust (love)" Richard Rohr
Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 85-86
Thanks to my good friend Sister Agnes, I'm really enjoying the thoughts of Ron Rolheiser here's a challenging insight in it's entirety....
DYING IN ORDER TO LIVE
APRIL 5, 1993
Leo Tolstoy once commented that “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I like to think that restlessness is like that, it takes many forms but each of us is restless in his or her own way.
One form of restlessness that many of us share in common, however, is a sense of feeling trapped in certain marriages, families, vocations, careers, churches, jobs and locations which frustrate us, but which, for all kinds of reasons, we feel powerless to ever leave.
Hence, we live in a state of dissatisfaction and restlessness, unable really to make peace with our lot in life and yet unable to leave it either.
Thus, we all know people who feel that their marriages are really not good, but who cannot ever leave those marriages, just as we know people who cannot make peace with the fact that they are not married, but who themselves know that, realistically, they will never be married.
What we see in these people and in ourselves since we all have our own particular experiences of this is a perpetual kicking against the goad, a cancer of spirit, a refusal to accept one’s lot in life, an incapacity to make peace with what one is in fact living.
Theologically this can be described as a blockage of pentecost, an unwillingness to receive the Holy Spirit for one’s own life.
How do we move beyond this kind of restlessness? There is an old adage, now the motto for Outward Bound programs in the U.S., that reads: If you can’t get out of something . . . get more deeply into it.
There is more than a little wisdom in that line, despite its rather glib sound. Taken seriously, it is a paschal prescription, a challenge to die so that we might live.
If you can’t get out of something . . . get more deeply into it. Christ illustrated what that means in his prayer in Gethsemane.
First he prayed that he might get out of it: “Father, let this cup pass from me.” Then, when he couldn’t get out of it, he got deeply into it. The result was the resurrection.
Many resurrections, for us, lie in imitating Christ in this matter. Thus, for example . . .
If we find ourselves restless in a marriage which is far from what we would now choose, but which we know we can never leave then we have no other choice but to get more deeply into it. We are so restless because we are no longer drawing life from the relationship.
Only by entering that marriage more deeply can that restlessness be turned to restfulness and can that seeming death be turned to life. Not to enter it more deeply is to condemn ourselves to the living death we are now experiencing—our relationship is neither alive nor dead.
The same holds true for those of us who struggle restlessly with the single life and celibacy. If we cannot get out of it, we will avoid a cancerous restlessness only by getting more deeply into it.
If we do enter more deeply into it and grieve properly our inconsummation we can turn that frustrated longing into a wider hunger that creates advent space, that helps us enter into a deeper mysticism within the communion of saints, and which drives us outward to try to create and enter human union beyond the individual and romantic level.
Again, not to die to our daydreams here, not to enter more deeply into celibacy, is to perpetuate a living death within our sexuality.
The same dynamic is likewise operative in our relationship to our church. Today there are many people who are very unhappy with their churches but, for all kinds of reasons, can never leave those churches.
As some put it: “Even if you leave the church, it never leaves you!” If that is the case, then the prescription is clear: If you can’t get out of it, get more deeply into it. Enter your church more deeply, see and experience in the tensions, pettiness, divisions and angers of this particular community the basic and universal struggle of all people to come together around one table, to have one heart.
The struggle for one community is, singularly, the most difficult and demanding of all human endeavors. Your local church offers you the laboratory to work at the project.
All of us are unhappy in our own way, be it with our marriage, our family, our celibacy, our church, our career, our neighborhood, our temperament, or even our physical appearance. If we can’t get out of these—get more deeply into them!
The mysticism of Rohr's thoughts often baffle me, comfort me while challenging me. I don't want to lose today's thoughts as I think there is a lot to chew over so as ever I park it here to revist.
"Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God; and at its core, it is love itself. Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower. Most of human history has referred to the True Self as your "soul" or "your participation in the eternal life of God." The great surprise and irony is that "you," or who you think you are, have nothing to do with your True Self's original creation or its ongoing existence. This is disempowering and utterly empowering at the same time. There's nothing you can do to make God love you more; and there's nothing you can do to make God love you less. All you can do is nurture your True Self, which is saying quite a lot. It is love becoming love in this unique form called "me."
According to St. Paul (Romans 8:28), becoming my True Self seems to be a fully cooperative effort, affirmed in my own limited experience. God never forces himself/herself on us or coerces us toward life or love by any threats whatsoever. God seduces us, yes; coerces us, no (Jeremiah 20:7; Matthew 11:28-30). Whoever this God is, he or she is utterly free and utterly respects our own human freedom. Love cannot happen in any other way. Love flourishes inside freedom and then increases that freedom even more. "For freedom Christ has set us free!" shouts St. Paul in his critique of all legalistic religion (Galatians 5:1).
We are allowed to ride life's and love's wonderful mystery for a few years--until life and love reveal themselves as the same thing, which is the final and full message of the Risen Christ--life morphing into a love that is beyond space and time. He literally "breathes" shalom and forgiveness into the universal air (John 20:22-23). We get to add our own finishing touches of love, our own life breath to the Great Breath, and then return the completed package to its maker in a brand-new but also same form. It is indeed the same "I," but now it is in willing union with the great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14). It is no longer just one, but not two either"
"A lot of the world's knowledge is contained within science and philosophy, but most of the world's wisdom is contained in its religious and faith perspectives. Just as we cannot live on religion alone, so we cannot live on science and philosophy alone. Wisdom needs knowledge and knowledge needs wisdom. Science and religion need more deeply to befriend each other."