As you know, or at least have guessed, I am Irish. We, as a people, have had a great struggle to achieve real freedom. We spent four hundred years in bondage. The struggle was, therefore, a long and arduous one. It came at a great price. Freedom, we are told today, is not free. It never was, and never will be, that reality we must always keep ever before us. As the result of our struggle, us Irish, have always been on the side of those who are enmeshed in their own struggle for freedom. Sometime check the number of Irish who fought in Washington's army? The Irish have great passion for what is right and just. Patience, on the other hand, is not what we are known for. We who have known enslavement, bondage and every kind of injustice, when we see people confined in any form of "prison”, we do not keep very quiet. There is something inside that forces us to speak out. We must speak and name the source enslavement. In the spiritual life that which enslaves us is guilt, fear, and shame. These are what I like to call "the toxic trinity". We will never be spiritually free until these forces are faced head on in our lives.
This takes tremendous courage. A courage that is provided, free of charge, by our gracious, ever-kind, and merciful God. All we have to do is desire to be free, and the process has begun. The ride to real spiritual freedom is one scary wild ride. We have been called, by our Baptism, to that freedom. We have to ask the hard question, “Do I really want to be free?". Do I want the freedom that requires of me that I no longer live in the expectations of others? I risk telling the unvarnished truth, naming the lie. Speaking out loud what has ever and always been the family secret. We are no longer going to carry the burden of that secret. We have to realize our unhappiness, our life lived in the prison of addiction and compulsion, is actually our struggle with the family secret. Real spiritual comes when we name the family secret and expose it to the transforming power of Love.
This love, like all healthy love, is creative, not destructive. This Power of Love unifies, not divides. This love transfigures, and transforms. This Power of Love will ever so slowly, and ever so gently bring us to spiritual health, wholeness, and holiness. Yes, wholeness and holiness ARE the same. They are interchangeable words, just as God and Healthy love are. We have to express our desire for that love of all loves. We can paraphrase the words of Robbie Burns, "Would that God the gift to see me as God Himself sees me". We are thereby asking that the lenses of God become our lenses. Are we willing to let go of the old way of seeing, so we can be lead into a new way of living? It is scary to let go of the familiar. A great number of people I have met know in their hearts of hearts the old way must be surrendered. The old behaviors cannot continue, do they let go? I am sad to say the prisons of “the toxic trinity" are chosen, rather than risk real freedom. Bondage they can handle freedom, no. They will continue to analyze, criticize and brutalize themselves and as a consequence others. This is their comfort zone. Here is where they will stay rather open themselves to a new way acting. A new way of acting is THE only way we can reach a new way of thinking. When we do not risk the new way of acting we are then frozen. We are drying up, and will eventually crumble. These words of Rousseau I like, "Man was born free, and everywhere I look I see him chained".
We all have to face the decision to choose life over death. Here is what I promised to give you, so you at your ease can reflect on what it says, and so be lead to a place where you can rest, and be the beloved you are called to be. The "resentful eye" has got to go. Why? John O’Donoghue has written, "To the resentful eye, everything is begrudged”. People who have allowed the canker of resentment into their vision can never enjoy who they are or what they have. They are always looking outward towards others with resentment. Perhaps they are resentful because they see others as more beautiful, more gifted, or richer than themselves. The resentful eye lives out of its poverty and forgets its own inner harvest. As regards "The Loving Eye " he writes "To the loving eye, everything is real”. This art of love is neither sentimental nor naive. Such love is the greatest criterion of truth, celebration, and reality. Kathleen Raine, a Scottish poet, says that unless you a think in the light of love, you do not see it at all. Love is the light in which we see light. Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature, and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility, and depth.
The loving can even coax pain, hurt, and violence towards transfiguration and renewal. The loving eye is bright because it is autonomous and free. It looks lovingly on anything. The loving vision does not become entangled in the agenda of power, seduction, opposition and complicity. Such vision is creative and subversive. It rises above the pathetic arithmetic of blame and judgment and engages experience at the level of its origin, structure, and destiny. The loving eye see through and beyond image and effects the deepest change. Vision is central to your presence and creativity. To recognize HOW you see things can bring you self-knowledge and enable you to glimpse the wonderful treasures you life secretly holds.