“I Stand at Your Door and Knock”
It is never too late to start the spiritual journey or to start over, and it is worth starting over any number of times. If you are over eighty, you will be happy to know that there is an accelerated course. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the course of dying, there are all kinds of transforming experiences. What God is after are our good intention and our efforts. We may not experience the fruit of our efforts in this life, but just keep trying.
The contemplative journey, because it involves the purification of the unconscious, is not a magic carpet to bliss. It is an exercise of letting go of the false self, a humbling process, because it is the only self we know.
God approaches us from many different perspectives: illness, misfortune, bankruptcy, divorce proceedings, rejection, inner trials. God has not promised to take away our trials, but to help us to change our attitudes toward them. That is what holiness really is. In this life, happiness is rooted in our basic attitude toward reality. . . .
The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, “Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.”
— Thomas Keating in The Human Condition
Is God trying to get your attention, right now? Is God speaking to you through someone else? Through an event in your life? What might be preventing you from hearing him? Whatever that obstacle to God might be, are you willing to crucify it? Right now?
Love in Christ,
The writings of Fr. Thomas Keating are taken from Spirituality and Practice. The reflections are my own.
M.Rev. Ed Jansen is the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Benedict and Rev. Dr. Trish Gaffney is its Vicar General
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