Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
— James 5:7-8
We live in a certain tension. Where do we see it? What parts of ourselves do we wish weren’t there? In what failures, weaknesses, or wrongdoing do we feel cursed? These are the places where new insights can break through. We come to see that our vulnerability is a gift, or that a weakness can be a strength. We come to know that the only love that is meaningful is the love that sees us as we are and loves us as we are.
— Mark A. Villano from Time to Get Ready
The Blessing We Most Need
… blessings do not typically work in a linear way. They twist and turn, make their own paths, and spiral back to find us when we most need to receive them. Healing the fractured past, provoking us to act for a more whole future, opening our eyes to the God who meets us in the present—blessings work within time but are not bound by it. They are the stuff of poetry and mystery, of kairos and thin places, made of the most ordinary of moments yet holding the power to open us to eternity.
A blessing is, finally, something wild. It leads us where we did not imagine to go, and never in a straight line. That is the nature of a blessing—and the nature of God, who meets us in each moment, within time and beyond it, encompassing us season by season in a circle of grace.
— Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace
This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.
— Madeleine L’Engle from The Ordering of Love
Towards A Spirituality of Noninterference
On a farm you learn to respect nature, particularly for the wisdom of its dark underworld. When you sow things in the spring, you commit them to the darkness of the soil. The soil does its own work. It is destructive to interfere with the rhythm and wisdom of its darkness. You sow drills of potatoes on Tuesday and you are delighted with them. You meet someone on a Wednesday who says that you spread the potatoes too thickly, you will have no crop. You dig up the potatoes again and spread them more thinly. On the following Monday, you meet an agricultural advisor who says this particular variety of seed potatoes needs to be spread close together. You dig them up again and set them closer to each other. If you keep scraping at the garden, you will never allow anything to grow. People in our hungry modern world are always scraping at the clay of their hearts.
They have a new thought, a new plan, a new syndrome, that now explains why they are the way they are. They have found an old memory that opens a new wound. They keep on relentlessly, again and again, scraping the clay away from their own hearts. In nature we do not see the trees, for instance, getting seriously involved in therapeutic analysis of their root systems or the whole stony world that they had to avoid on their way to the light. Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out to the light with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires.
Negative introspection damages the soul. It holds many people trapped for years and years, and ironically, it never allows them to change. It is wise to allow the soul to carry on its secret work in the night side of your life. You might not see anything stirring for a long time. You might have only the slightest intimations of the secret growth that is happening within you, but these intimations are sufficient. We should be fulfilled and satisfied with them. You cannot dredge the depths of the soul with the meagre light of self-analysis. The inner world never reveals itself cheaply. Perhaps analysis is the wrong way to approach our inner dark.
We all have wounds; we need to attend to them and allow them to heal. A beautiful phrase of Hegel’s is apposite here: “Die Wunden des Geistes heilen, ohne dass Narben bleiben”; “The wounds of the spirit heal and leave no scars.” There is a healing for each of our wounds, but this healing is waiting in the indirect, oblique, and nonanalytic side of our nature. We need to be mindful of where we are damaged, then invite our deeper soul in its night-world to heal this wounded tissue, renew us, and bring us back into unity. If we approach our hurt indirectly and kindly, it will heal. Creative expectation brings you healing and renewal. If you could trust your soul, you would receive every blessing you require. Life itself is the great sacrament through which we are wounded and healed. If we live everything, life will be faithful to us.
— John O’Donohue from Anam Cara
- Healing Peace
- The Courage of the Seed
- Trust In The Slow Work of God
- Deep Down Within The Heart There Is A Stillness Which Is Healing
- Blessed And Broken
- Being the Beloved
- Mary’s Yes