It’s difficult to make a good decision when you don’t have all the information. It’s also difficult to move forward while trying to deny part of your reality. Jesus came from a tradition that was brutally honest; just read a bit from any of Israel’s prophets to see how forcefully they spoke the truth. Jesus continued in this vein as he talked about what it really took to be people of God, to participate in the kingdom of God.
Jesus knew what John the Baptist knew before him and what the prophets knew before both of them: without truth, people cannot heal. If we ignore the root cause of our wounds, we will continue to be wounded, even if we heal some of the damage. We might fix what has been harmed. But if we continue doing what caused the harm in the first place, we will simply acquire (or inflict) new wounds because the core activity has not changed.
Lent is a good time to stop our activity long enough to look at it carefully, prayerfully, and to determine the specific truths of the situation.
— Vinita Hampton Wright from Praying Freedom: Lenten Meditations to Engage Your Mind and Free Your Soul
The Sacred Wound
Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. It is first an ordinary wound before it can become a sacred wound. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as “whenever you are not in control.”
All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. If your religion is not showing you how to transform your pain, it is junk religion. It is no surprise that a crucified man became the central symbol of Christianity.
If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter—because we will be wounded. That is a given. All suffering is potentially redemptive, all wounds are potentially sacred wounds. It depends on what you do with them. Can you find God in them or not?
— Richard Rohr adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
Spaciousness is always a beginning, a possibility, a potential, a capacity for birth. Space exists not in order to be fulfilled but to create. In space, to the extent we can bear the truth of the way things are, we find the ever-beginning presence of love. Take the time, then; make the space. Seek it wherever you can find it, do it however you can. The manner does not matter, and the experiences you have there is of secondary importance. Seek the Truth, not what is comfortable. Seek the real, not the easy.
— Gerald May from Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective
We Walk To Heaven Backward
Another resemblance between the state of Adam in paradise, and that of children is this, that children are saved, not by their purpose and habits of obedience, not by faith and works, but by the influence of baptismal grace; and into Adam God “breathed the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Far different is our state since the fall:—at present our moral rectitude, such as it is, is acquired by trial, by discipline: but what does this really mean? by sinning, by suffering, by correcting ourselves, by improving. We advance to the truth by experience of error; we succeed through failures. We know not how to do right except by having done wrong. We call virtue a mean,—that is, as considering it to lie between things that are wrong. We know what is right, not positively, but negatively;—we do not see the truth at once and make towards it, but we fall upon and try error, and find it is not the truth. We grope about by touch, not by sight, and so by a miserable experience exhaust the possible modes of acting till nought is left, but truth, remaining. Such is the process by which we succeed; we walk to heaven backward; we drive our arrows at a mark, and think him most skilful whose shortcomings are the least.
— John Henry Newman from Parochial and Plain Sermons
One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.
- Daily Meditation for Lent
- Claiming What God Can Do Within The Dust
- Pain: The Breaking Of The Shell That Encloses Your Understanding
- In The Gentle Whisper
- Invitation to Healing
- Prayer for Trust and Healing