“The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)
Since humility is the foundation of all spiritual life, God wants the soul to be humble at all costs. To paraphrase Jesus, “be like me, I am meek and gentle”. So, (somewhat obviously) always assuming that we in fact DO want to be like Christ, should we not strive to accept (in the spirit He intends them) all the humiliations that God sends us? Why then do we struggle mightily to resist these manifestations of God’s will in helping us towards our own spiritual growth?
A most frequent source of distractions and impediments to spiritual peace and growth is a tendency, all unconscious, to try to heal all the wounds to our self love by indulging in thoughts, dreams and fantasies about what we “should” have said, or what “should have happened” if only … it’s too bad really. In ready acceptance of humiliations we are offered an important opportunity for mortification and of disciplining the memory, the imagination and the emotions.
In giving free rein to our thoughts, imagination and emotions we indulge in dreaming and building castles in the air, the enjoyment of dwelling on old memories and old ways of thought, the fleshing out of our vindictive fantasies, in the replaying over and over again in our imagination of all the little videos of our hurts we draw ever further from God and God’s will.
Nursing old grievances and allowing our hurt pride to dictate our feelings, thoughts and actions delivers us inevitably to anger and resentment … no peace there at all, just more hurt and grief, more retaliatory strikes, more sin.
If we fail to refrain from airing grievances, proclaiming the wrongs done to us, looking everywhere for sympathy and even looking for opportunities for retaliation, then we fail in our developing relationship with Christ and God. Everything which would work against a new human friendship works against building a relationship with God.
For example supposing one is trying to impress a new boyfriend, or even a new girlfriend, would we indulge in the above behavior, complaining and virtue signaling at the top of our lungs – would that behavior help our new relationship? I rather think not, just short term, short term, short term, and then a brand new EX-boyfriend or girlfriend and more hurt and more videos in our head.
Why then do we protest a desire to become closer to God and then almost in the same breath forget about the presence of God and start building our fairy castles of self justification – sometimes even in the midst of praying. Even at the most intimate moments, our minds drift to self justification and in so doing we refuse to cooperate with God’s grace and the plan He is implementing to develop our spiritual life and our ultimate salvation.
Look into the mirror and “turn your eyes back upon yourself, and see that you do not judge the doings and sayings of others. In judging others you expend effort for nothing, often are mistaken, and easily offend. But in judging and looking into yourself you work with good results.
We often judge things, actions and speech according to our own biases and beliefs, our heart’s preferences and desires. In this we very easily loose site of true vision and judgement due to private affections and personal preferences.” Thomas à Kempis
There is probably a post about psychological projection and transference in there somewhere but it has not risen to the surface yet. Maybe next post then …