Warning !!!! This is difficult, but essential wisdom
for understanding and healing.
When you read the following, and have an honest reflection, (dangerous territory) ask this question where have I encountered hearts that have been hardened? Where, and unto whom, is my heart hardened? That is nasty. Well until we get real nasty and get down and dirty with our selves, first nothing really happens. We all have, and frequently use, I will pray for you. Prayer is essential to life but it s no excuse for concrete action. We can have empathy or sympathy. When our actions really portray a saving sympathy we get down into the mess and get ourselves dirty. Pope Francis encourages us to get "to get the smell of the sheep on us." Sheep can and do smell. Before that we must get in touch with the smell of our own humanness. If we lead sterile lives we shall fail to obey the commandment in the daily readings." you SHALL love your neighbor, as you love yourself. Let us be honest, some days the way we treat ourselves, our neighbor is really, screwed. We have to face the hard fact that our understanding of God is screwed as well. Across the page, from my last quote from John, this god has eyes everywhere O'Donohue's in "Eternal Echoes" these challenging words van be found, page 114.
"When the image of The Divine we inherit is negative, it can do untold damage. When your god is a harsh judge, he forces your life to become a watchful, and haunted hunt for salvation. Like a sinister Argus this god has eyes everywhere. He sees everything an forgets nothing. Such images of the Divine cripple us. If salvation and healing do not come to us lyrically as gifts, they are nothing. Belief should liberate your life. Anything that turns belief into torment hardly merits the term "salvation." The reduction of the wild eternity of your life into a harsh divine project is a blasphemy against the all of your soul. People who inhabit the tormented prison of negative deity have awful lives. Tragically, they are partly responsible for keeping themselves locked in there; religion supplied the building material and they took up the task of self-incarceration. The spirit of a person is as intimate as his or hers sexuality. When a person is theologically or spiritually abused, the pain can shadow the whole life. Spiritual abuse sticks like tar in the core of the mind. When you stay in the inner jail of harsh deity, all the fun, humor, and irony go out of your life. Such a god has a fierce grip: he awakens everything fearful and negative in you and he whispers that this is who you really are. Your presence becomes atrophied. Your face turns into a brittle, mask-like surface. We become a prisoner and warden in one."