Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Thankful for People Who Can Express This Stuff


"This inner core of a person has a profundity and a simplicity that is literally beyond words. The core of the soul is not a place upon which to take a stand; nor is it a thing to be grasped. To speak of the core of a person in such terms is very misleading. Our deepest center stretches far beyond what can be conceived in clear and distinct ideas and what can be fully expressed in words. As we grow in our appreciation of this personal center, its presence dawns, alluringly shrouded in mist and mystery. Such mysteriousness does not imply cloudy ambiguity. Rather, within the shifting mists of this inner mysterious realm there can dawn a great quiet and clarity of vision. Allowing ourselves to be led further into this core of self facilitates a wonderful process of simplification. Life's complexities fuse into an undaunted simplicity. A noisy world hushes into a resounding quiet. And a polluted heart is stripped clear and clean. This core of the soul is marked by a simple calm and quiet beyond any cataclysmic storms and brutalizing temper tantrums. This deepest core of soul speaks of the infinite simplicity of God and of love beyond words that, even as you now read, is breathing life within you.

But such a profound depth of personal center can also frighten people in a dizzying vertigo of two types. First, there is the fear of being trapped in a suffocating loneliness. Entering into their deepest center can easily confront people with the potential danger of a loneliness whose suffocating effect just does not seem worth the risk. For these people discovering a greater sense of one's uniqueness seems inevitably to entail ever greater loneliness. Surely, loneliness is unavoidable and can, at times, swamp us in fearsome ways. But the same loneliness, when properly dealt with, can serve to teach the invaluable lesson of how precious our uniqueness is and yet how communitarian our personal identity is. In the core of the soul no deadening loneliness sucks away the breath of our life. Rather in the core of our soul God's creative love is breathing the gift of life into us moment by moment, now, and on into eternity. It is this same creative love, unique to each one of us, that breathes life into each and every person. And so, as we are led ever deeper into the core of our soul, our experience of God and of ourselves becomes ever more profound, personal, and unique. This God-centeredness is not meant to segregate each of us into a lonely solitariness, but rather to root and unite us in the community of the universal human family created in the image of God's Trinity. Finally, we are not, and never can be, alone.

A second fear can be even more frightening. Once we know the potential for evil within ourselves, a question with ominous consequences can stare us to a standstill. What runs deeper within me: goodness or evil? It is easy to become so frightened by a potentially 'evil' answer to my question that either I aggressively shun any deepening of self-discovery or I force and fabricate a 'good' answer that is finally illusory and very unreal. Such a fear often plays itself out in a furious pace of busy distraction and empty activity. But such a fear has often been addressed by God--and with a clarity unmistakable in the revelation of Christ...God reveals that in every human person what runs deepest is the goodness of divine love and forgiveness. There is in each of us a deepest central point where evil cannot reach, and where only the beauty of God's creative love exists in all its uniqueness. Such continuing proclamation in the church can quiet fear and invite an evolving abandonment into our deepest truest self in the love of God that is Christ Jesus...

...Our most profound and personal experience of God, as mentioned earlier, is in the core of our soul. The core's profundity is not given to intensely exhilarating experiences. Because the waters of our core identity run deep beyond words, God's love is not experienced there like the excitement of cresting and breaking waves of emotion. Rather God's love resounds as a presence perduring and endearing. This profundity of God's perduring presence can produce an inner quiet - like the catching of one's breath - behind and beyond all exciting spontaneity and breathless activity.

At our deepest center we are not actually doing or feeling anything. This is the point where we are - where we are in God, and are continually coming to be in the breath of God's loving Spirit. This center of being, this presence does not completely elude conscious grasp. Moments of prayerful reflection, sometimes carefully attuned to our breathing, can reveal a deep inner calm and quiet, that does not have a deadening effect but rather renews and enlivens. This is holy ground. In the holiness of this quiet sanctuary, with an attractiveness beyond imagining, God's love is grasping, laying claim to and identifying each of us in Christ. It is the still point in the ever turning world of our own person and of the whole cosmos."

"A Hidden Self Grown Strong" by George Aschenbrenner, S.J.


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