The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Let your heart be softened


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The second sacred image that the cross echoes is the “Lifted-Up One,” and it comes from the bronze snake in the desert. YHWH tells Moses to raise up a serpent on a pole, and “anyone who has been bitten by a serpent and looks upon it will be healed” (Numbers 21:8). It is like a homeopathic symbol. 

The very thing that is killing the Children of Israel is the thing that will heal them! It is presented as a vaccine that will give you just enough of the disease so you can develop a resistance to it. The cross dramatically raises up the problem of ignorant hatred for all to see, hoping to inoculate us against doing the same thing and projecting our violence onward into history.
Jesus becomes the seeming problem and the homeopathic cure for the same by dramatically exposing it for what it is, “parading it in public” (Colossians 2:15) for those who have eyes to see, and inviting us to gaze upon it with sympathetic understanding.

The prophet Zechariah calls Israel to “Look upon the pierced one and to mourn over him as for an only son,” and “weep for him as for a firstborn child,” and then “from that mourning” (five times repeated) will flow “a spirit of kindness and prayer” (12:10) and “a fountain of water” (13:1; 14:8). We would now call this “grief work”—holding the mystery of all suffering, looking honestly right at it, and learning from it, which typically leads to an uncanny and newfound compassion and understanding.

I believe we are invited to gaze upon the image of the crucified to soften our hearts toward suffering and to know that God’s heart has always been softened toward us, even and most especially in our suffering. This softens us toward ourselves and all others who suffer.

Following Jesus is actually a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world. Jesus invited people to “follow” him in bearing the mystery of human death and resurrection. It is not a requirement in order that we can go to heaven later, it is an invitation so that we can live an entirely full life now.

Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, which is both the good and the bad of human history, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves—these are the followers of Jesus—the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world. The cross is a very dramatic image of what it takes to be a usable one for God.

These few are the critical mass that keeps the world from its path toward greed, violence, and self-destruction. God is calling everyone and everything to God’s self (Genesis 8:16-17, Ephesians 1:9-10, Colossians 1:15-20, Acts 3:21, 1 Timothy 2:4, John 3:17), not just a few. To get there, God needs models and images who are willing to be “conformed to the body of his death” and transformed into the body of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10). They are “the new creatures” (Galatians 6:15), and their transformed state is seeping into history and ever so slowly transforming it into life instead of death. This is the basis for all of our hope—in Christ and for history. - Fr. Richard Rohr

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Embrace suffering

"In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradictions, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward."
— Thomas รก Kempis, Imitation of Christ, p.73

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Which way are you and I going?

"Do not suppose that after advancing the soul to such a state God abandons it so easily that it is light work for the devil to regain it. When His Majesty sees it leaving Him, He feels the loss so keenly that He gives it in many a way a thousand secret warnings which reveal to it the hidden danger. In conclusion, let us strive to make constant progress: we ought to feel great alarm if we do not find ourselves advancing, for without doubt the evil one must be planning to injure us in some way; it is impossible for a soul that has come to this state not to go still farther, for love is never idle. Therefore it is a very bad sign when one comes to a standstill in virtue."
— St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, p.99