Bearing our weakness with compassion...

A few helpful and meaning-filled quotes from Thomas Keating that spoke to my heart yesterday:

+ If the Spirit asked us in the beginning to make a total surrender of every difficult person or situation, nobody could do it.  By leading us gradually - the way human things work - through growth in trust and humility, we are able to make deeper surrender of ourselves to God.  In this way we reach a new level of interior freedom, a deeper purity of heart and an ever increasing union with the Spirit.

+ The humiliation of the false self leads to humility and humility leads to invincible trust.  The Fruits of the Spirit enumerated in Galatians 5: 22-23 begin to appear and later the Beatitudes of Matthew 5: 3-10.

+ What is most disconcerting for souls who have been on the "spiritual" journey for 20 or 30 years is that each time we make a transition from one level to the next, we are likely to encounter the same temptations we had before we started the journey and we think, "I'm not getting anywhere."

+ To accept our "spiritual illness" and the damage that was done to us by people or circumstances is to participate in the cross of Christ and our own redemption… bearing our weakness with compassion, patience and without expect all our ills to go away is the best what to function within God's kingdom where the insignificant, the outcasts and everyday life are the basic coordinates.

Makes me think of Jung when he said that the Lord's invitation to meet God by caring for the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. also included the inner journey where we are to befriend our own loneliness, feed our own inner hungers and clothe our own nakedness tenderly and with affection. It is both an inward and outward journey that always needs as much careful compassion for our wounds as our anything we do unto others.

As I was waiting for the train yesterday there were two young girls with their mother.  As tweens are want to do, they were jabbering and flitting about making more noise than I was ready for.  At first they reminded me of a living video game as they literally bounced off the walls of the small waiting room - and the sheer volume of their shrieks and giggles was unsettling.  "God damn," I thought, "I'm on a journey INTO silence and they are making me crazy."  But that's not true; they weren't making me crazy.  They were just being goofy girls caught up in the excitement of a trip.  (Ok, they could have been a little quieter!)  

No, it was my inner agitation that was making me crazy - my neglect of solitude and self-care - and a deep sadness  that lives within me.  Keating writes that the desert fathers gave thanks for tears because they open the doors of the heart to God.  As those who practice Centering Prayer recommend, I am simply going to rest for a time in the Lord - it is not about finding answers at this moment - and from within the rest something will be revealed.

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