In his book, Spiritual Direction according to Paul of the Cross, Bennet Kelly, C.P. suggests that,
“Anxieties and inner disturbances usually come from the inner attitudes of heart, past programming, past hurts which are not totally conformed to God’s holy will, past habits which have developed from that programming, and past hurts which have not been worked through to peace.” (p.85)
He goes on to say that, “They are like God’s messages to us telling us we need to do something” (p.85) Much has been written about the way God speaks to us through our feelings, inviting us to deeper and greater healing and transformation. In their book, “Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection with Christian Spirituality, Edwin M. McMahon, Ph.D and Peter A. Campbell, Ph.D use the example of the telephone when they suggest, “Feelings are like the phone ringing. A message is trying to get through.” (p.7) Further, they offer that our old habits of blocking messages kick in. “People respond to the ring of their feelings by turning on the TV, music or pouring themselves a drink.” (p.7)
As we go along our daily lives, we do not often have the luxury to stop and take stock and ask ourselves, “What do I need to hear”? So often the noise of our lives drowns out that inner voice. Its as if we reject or discard the very thing that will bring us clarity, healing and peace. Dare I suggest that our anxieties are a gift? A gift which comes disguised as an invitation to deeper understanding of ourselves and God—to transformation. Do you find that you block messages? Make excuses and avoid sitting down or slowing down enough to hear something new?
John O’Donohue offers us the following wisdom, “When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over. Our breathing deepens, and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth.” (Excerpts from Divine Beauty FB post 9/2/18)
St. Paul of the Cross would say that these disturbances are like crosses which must be taken up. As always, the cross leads to new life as reflected in the above paragraph. It is a process of slowing down, of listening; and YOU as well as those you love are ultimately well worth the effort!
Yet, we know this is hard work, it takes faith and a total act of surrender on our part. Again, St. Paul of the Cross taught that in times like this we turn our thoughts to the Passion of Jesus. He will companion us through these opportunities for growth. We will learn from him. So, what are you waiting for?
May the Passion of Jesus Christ by Always in Our Hearts, amen.
Nicodemus and Me (Inspired by Nicodemus and his growing relationship with Jesus in John’s Gospel)
We come at night because
that is all we can do.
Dawn is always the promise.
We wait anxiously and with trepidation.
What does this mean?
What do I need to do?
How can I do it?
Do I want to change?
See, Lord, your servant
struggles at this threshold.
Is dawn arriving soon?
How long is this night of unknowing?
Enter the tomb where He lays..
Barely a toe gets through
the doorway and
every fiber, every atom
of my being is alive.
Feel the powerful dynamism.
Elements swirl around me.
Hope, fulfillment, finished, begun…
Words beyond my language
settle all around me.
Intimate, searing, committed Love
draws me in even as I
want to flee.
Wash me clean of debris.
May there be nothing left of me but you.
Love has done this.
Dawn has arrived.
Photograph and Reflection © 2018 by Jean Bowler
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