So as a defense, we shut tight our eyes to the horrific images that appear in the many sources of communication. We can, and do offer deaf ears to the pain-full screams of those who are the contemporary Suffering Christ. Yes we can, and do have hardened hearts, and closed or blinded eyes, and minds. The awe-full result is that those suffering will continue to endure their pain in loneliness and isolation. How can we ever leave our place of so called comfort and security to embrace the pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers? Where am I going to get in touch with that which will empower, enable us, to "to be Him, Whom we have been called to be," and reach out in meaning-full, transforming service. How can we expand our narrow view of what it means to be a "Contemporary Christian?" A Christian who will go beyond the confining limits of religiosity, and instead be a living example of the universal love of our Gracious Creator God? In other words, when are we going to stop being sheep, and instead become shepherds? Shepherds that will continue the universal outreach of The Good Shepherd. A sheep does not become a shepherd without radical transformation. Radical transformation is not something the ego will choose. There is too much to let go of. Becoming the living presence of The Good Shepherd demands that we let go of everything, and enter the place of abject poverty and powerlessness. This was modeled for us on Calvary, and we are called to enter into the same reality. This does not happen in a vacuum. Grace is operative in each step we take. The Crucified Shepherd now journeys with us, and in us, and continues to live through us. The same Spirit that was with The Historical Jesus on His transformation to be The Risen and living Christ is the same Spirit that brings about our transformation.
We are told it all begins with our journey into our inner being. There will be those who will recoil from journeying within the depths of who we are. Solitude is a necessary prerequisite for this great adventure. But solitude like all blessings brings with it great pain. Here is what Thomas Mann wrote:
"Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous- to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit. the absurd."
In solitude we are asked, forced to meet, and embrace all of the pain, all of the suffering, all the isolation, all the loneliness, all the powerlessness that another can experience. In other words, I meet my sister/brother in the depths of who I am discovering myself to be. That is why the journey into the depths of being an authentic human being is not readily embraced. For me it seemed to begin without I being aware of it. It was not until I was led to the blessings of solitude that I began to get just an inkling of what I needed to learn most. It has been a long, long process. It is not false self enhancing, it is about the false self destruction. The false self, the self of my creation, does not die easily. This process has been going on for some time. When will it end? only end with my final breath. So I do not know when my journey will end. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month ??? All I know is that it will happen.
Getting away from the noise and busyness of life is both a blessing and a curse. As long as I am busy I do not have to listen to, or pay attention to all that bubbles up from within. So much of what bubbles up does not lead to peace serenity or peace of mind. What bubbles up results in disquiet and discomfort. It is great to know this is not just my experience alone. It is shared by all who are exposed to silence and solitude. It was with great relief that I read, many years ago what Fr. Rohr wrote in his book, everything belongs that when we enter solitude we have to face our personal issues of addiction, negativity, fear, and control. Each time one enters solitude these issues, for me, are always there. I must also admit that it does not get any easier to face the above issues. My shadow comes to the foreground and must be embraced and become reconciled with. If the my shadow is not embraced, made friends with, then I will project the guilt, anger, and resentment to some unfortunate I meet. All war has its origin within the depths of the human heart. When I am responding out of fear and anger that is my false self. No matter how I dress it up prejudice, bigotry, rash judgment, all begin with me and how I deal with my shadow. The only answer is that I grow in the understanding and acceptance of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a process darn it!!! I have found, and do find great difficulty with this process. I want reconciliation and acceptance, and I want it now. I want everything to be perfect, so I can a life free of stress and discomfort. This is not going to happen much to the disgust of my ego centered ego, the false self. If there is going to be peace and harmony in our time it has to begin with each one's journey into the depths. Nothing will happen until we make that journey. If we do not choose to make it, then life will force us to make it.
"Lord make me an instrument of Your peace" but first lead me to that place of peace where You dwell in a Love Community of Father, Son and Spirit. Gift me with the grace to love all that I fear and detest. Strengthen my faith that it is in those places I recoil from Your Compassionate Love, and mercy will be revealed. Give me then, the courage to carry this gospel to those who have not heard it, and if they have have found it difficult to believe. It is so hard at times to really believe in Your Infinite mercy-full love. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Why have you not made it so? I guess the journey continues!!!