Sunday, January 13, 2013

Healing the vision...

One of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is self-rejection. When we say, "If people really knew me, they wouldn't love me," we choose the road toward darkness. Often we are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite of self-deprecation. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God's eyes and that all we are is pure gift. To grow beyond self-rejection we must have the courage to listen to the voice calling us God's beloved sons and daughters, and the determination always to live our lives according to this truth...

(with thanks to the Henri Nouwen Society)

So often in my life I have felt that the insights, hints, leadings I have felt could not be real or important since it was I who was having them. Consistently I have ignored the those who would encourage me, and have given credence to those who would convince me of the unreliability of my own intuitions.

It is tempting to psychoanalyse myself here, to blame those in my upbringing, at school and elsewhere, who encouraged such a mindset. These things may in part be true, but what good would it do to ascribe them to people who have since died, and to institutions since dispersed? Nouwen puts his finger on it here: the way into God's calling is by means of his love: "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3.26-28) "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" (Romans 8.35)

... love was mediated to me, in the first place, by those with whom I worshipped. For my journey was not solitary, but one undertaken with my friends as we moved towards each other and together travelled inwards. Yet I knew that the love that held me could not be limited to the mutual love and care we had for each other. It was a signal of transcendence that pointed beyond itself to the source of all life and love.

George Gorman, 1973

It is surrender to Christ's love, to its presence in each one of us as the Holy Spirit gives us grace to see it, that brings about the restoration of vision and trust. As one recognises that of Christ within each of us, even within ourselves, we somehow come to trust not only the God by whose love we are held, but we ourselves whom he has loved so much...

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