You have an idea of what the new country looks like. Still, you are very much at home, although not truly at peace, in the old country. You know the ways of the old country, its joys and pains, its happy and sad moments. You have spent most of your days there. Even though you know that you have not found there what your heart most desires, you remain quite attached to it. It has become part of your very bones.
Now you have come to realize that you must leave it and enter the new country, where your Beloved dwells. You know that what helped and guided you in the old country no longer works, but what else do you have to go by? You are being asked to trust that you will find what you need in the new country. That requires the death of what has become so precious to you: influence, success, yes, even affection and praise.
Trust is so hard, since you have nothing to fall back on. Still, trust is what is essential. The new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable.
It seems that you keep crossing and recrossing the border. For a while you experience a real joy in the new country. But then you feel afraid and start longing again for all you left behind, so you go back to the old country. To your dismay, you discover that the old country has lost its charm. Risk a few more steps into the new country, trusting that each time you enter it, you will feel more comfortable and be able to stay longer.
— Henri Nouwen from The Inner Voice of Love
Can You Drink The Cup?
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
— Matthew 20:23
If there is a constantly recurring theme in mythology, literature, and theater, it is that human beings who try to avoid changing themselves (an invitation which normally comes through “humiliating self-knowledge”) always set out on a destructive course of trying to change the world, others, or even God. It is the old theme of hubris in Greek theater, and seems to be at the heart of every tragedy.
In the most dramatic form, of course, it insists on the death of others and becomes murder, catastrophe, or war. Anything rather than change ourselves! Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung said that to avoid the “legitimate suffering” of being human, we inflict untold suffering on others, and finally actually bring more suffering on ourselves anyway. I find that to be profoundly true.
— Richard Rohr from Wonderous Encounters
A Prayer Everyone Can Pray …
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
— Thomas Merton from Thoughts In Solitude