To be sure, none of us drinks the chalice of our existence to the last drop. None of us is fully obedient. Everyone falls short of the human nature entrusted to us. We are all compromised in our acknowledgment of the truth of our being and in our work of becoming human. We never fully grasp the image of our impoverished being. There is a rift between ideal and actual life, between the real thrust of our life and our actual life from day to day. We always remain a promise never quite fulfilled, an image only dimly seen through a mirror. We always stand at a distance from our own selves, never fully sounding the depths of that being called ‘I.’
When I was eight years old and in primary school, an angry teacher smacked the kid next to me over the head while declaring, “God is love!” The words may be true, but the action denied them…. There has to be a congruity between what is said and what is done for any creed to maintain credibility. But faith is practiced by humans, who are weak, quarrelsome, forgetful and fearful. Enchanted by Christ’s message, we act contrary to it again and again.
The mind that is the prisoner of conventional ideas, and the will that is the captive of its own desire, cannot accept the seeds of an unfamiliar truth and a supernatural desire…. I must learn therefore to let go of the familiar and the usual and consent to what is new and unknown to me. I must learn to ‘leave myself’ in order to find myself by yielding to the love of God.
No matter who you are, no matter how eloquent or otherwise, if you tell your own story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting story and in some sense a universal story…. We are so used to hearing what we want to hear and remaining deaf to what it would be well for us to hear that it is hard to break the habit. But if we keep our hearts and minds open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize, beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear God, God is indeed speaking to us.
No. It is not enough to despise the world.
It is not enough to live one’s life as though
Riches and power were nothings. They are not,
But to grasp the world, to grasp and feel it grow
Great in one’s grasp is likewise not enough.
The secret is to grasp it, and let it go.