Closeness is the language spoken by the “one whom our hearts love” (Song 3:1), while feeling is the way that we listen to those welcomed words. How easy it is to get lost in the super-structures of religious categories and theological concepts. Indeed, spending our days in the safe domain of intellectually-deduced definitions and abstractions, our hearts slowly grow weary and we become dissatisfied with the caricature of the divine that our minds have produced. Nevertheless, when the time is right – and we will know when! – we shall make the turn into the one who wants to be close, we shall become willing to take the risk of feeling at the deepest level of our souls. This “inner room” and “secret place” (cf. Mt 6:6), where closeness and feeling meet in a definitive way (Ps 85:10), is our salvation (Ps 27:1). Let us therefore ask for the grace to remember what it is like to feel close and the courage to move toward that fire. Ave Crux, Spes Unica.
The asymmetry of the two hemispheres of the brain provides a helpful analogy for the human person. Left and Right are not rivals competing with one another for control of the body, but distinct dimensions of consciousness that need one another for full participation in reality. Indeed, the perception of the whole through the Right is validated when all of the texture and detail is articulated and grafted on by the Left. At the same time, the Left is stuck in an endless cycle of grasping at and latching onto random stimuli until the Right offers the big picture as the blueprint for sensory engagement. While dualistic thinking and living is the default position of our fallen condition – a constant “versus” mentality – we come away again and again dissatisfied. We are thus called to a life of Left and Right (cf. Gal 3:28), where, through the crucible of reconciliation and the process of integration (cf. Col 1:20), a single Christic experience emerges in us. Let’s therefore learn to be comfortable with our Left brain not knowing what our Right brain is doing (Mt 6:3) in the hopes of developing a beautiful interior partnership that images the trust and love of the one who sits on both right and left at one and the same time (Mk 16:19). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
There is a little man, or maybe a little woman, who sits on the throne of our minds as we try to make our way through life. Filled with all sorts of messages, this little person, like a broken record, tries to call the shots: you’re too fat, you’re too old, you’re not smart enough, do this, do that, go here, go there, etc. Inevitably and unfortunately, we find ourselves cowering in some corner of our souls, allowing our vital exigence to be extinguished while the little person grows fat at our expense. Nevertheless, Jesus invites us again and again to exit this pattern (Mk 1:17, Mt 9:9), and when we do make the decision to respond to the voice of the one who actually cares for us, instead of the false one who works in fear and shame, we move in a direction that confers life and holds that little person accountable. Indeed, our willingness to take a risk and allow ourselves to be led into uncertainty – as intense and difficult as that may be – forces our inner throne to pledge allegiance to some greater entity. In this way, we shall serve as humble and loving levers for the conversion and salvation of even our enemies (Mt 5:43-48). Ave Crux, Spes Unica.
“And Samuel hacked King Agag to pieces…” (1 Sam 15:33). While this historical episode may sound barbaric, the passage functions in an allegorical way to convey the necessity of bringing spiritual tasks to their rightful ending point (cf. Jn 19:30). How often do we instead let things slide? How often do we hold back? How often do we nurture a false hope that things will just magically change on their own? Indeed, if we are serious about living an authentic spiritual life, we will not be afraid to lay the ax to the root of our inner habits and trust that some new reality will grow forth in our souls. The more we naively play with those invasive interior species, however, the more susceptible we will become to their cunning and deceptive ways. Let’s therefore heed the call to repentance (Mk 1:15) and, in doing so, cultivate weed-free hearts where all obstacles to love are hacked away (Mt 13:24-30). Ave Crux, Spes Unica!