I find there are certain books, I begin to read, and there is no difficulty in the reading. On the other hand, there are other books which I find, in the beginning, I do not connect with. So, I have the practice of putting them away. Sometimes it is for a short time, some books are on the shelf for a greater length of time. (My record for one book? How about 20 years!) I have begun to read John O'Donoghue's book, Beauty, Again. I am so very glad I did. Following up on the theme of the last few weeks I came across the following.
"The beauty that emerges from woundedness is a beauty infused with feeling: a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and the cold beauty of perfect form.
This is a beauty that has suffered its way THROUGH the ache of desolation until the words or music emerge TO EQUAL the hunger and desperation of the human heart......
Where woundedness can be refined into beauty a wonderful transfiguration takes place........For instance , compassion is one of the most beautiful presences a person can bring to the world and most compassion is born from one's woundedness...
The beauty of compassion continues to shelter and save our world. BEAUTY.”
The journey through the above process, is not an easy one. I hate to say, but it is the truth, like everything else in the spiritual journey, it is not a once and forever event. We will enter into the emptying process again, again and again. Neither is it a quick, fast, or sudden journey. It is a slow, an oh so slow process. We intellectually can give our assent to the process, while all the time running away emotionally from it. (Rupp) In our journey from weakness, to strength, to compassion we will need to spend a good deal of time coming to grips with our emptiness, and powerlessness. Embracing our emptiness and powerlessness, we enter into the Kingdom of God.
You will remember a few weeks ago, what Jesus said, "How blest are the poor in spirit, theirs in the Kingdom". Many times I ask this question, how many poeple would like to enter into the Kingdom of God? A great many hands shoot up! Then I ask, how many of us are prepared to let go of our kingdoms, based on power, property and prestige so as to embrace the poverty necessary for entrance into God's Kingdom? Not many hands are in the air at that time!
God's Kingdom as we are told, is not an earthly Kingdom, but a spiritual Kingdom of peace, justice and love. A Kingdom not the creation of human hands, or the result of human effort, but the result of the compassionate power of God. A power encountered in the everyday events of our authentic human journey. In this way, we again come to a newer, and an ever deeper understanding , of the mysterious workings of GRACE [Amazing Grace]. We can never, or must not ever, underestimate the power of the words of scripture "with God all things are possible”, “of ourselves we can do nothing, we can do all things in Him who strengthens us", and then the nasty one "it is only when I am weak, it is then, that I am strong". As we approach Thanksgiving, how many will be offering thanks for weakness? Maybe this year, we can say thank you for the strengthening presence that has come to us through our weaknesses and brokenness.
There is the foundation of our faith, a foundation that leads to hope.
“Prayer is the supreme way we lift our limited selves toward the light, and ask it to shine into us.” (O’Donoghue)
A wondering wanderer’s journey continues….