One Heart (January 2011): Letting go
‘None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’ Lk 14:33
The Polish psychologist Casmir Dabrowski claims that we grow by first falling apart. He was once challenged on this by one of his students who asked, ‘can’t we also grow through our successes.’ ‘Theoretically yes,’ he replied, ‘we can grow through our successes, just as easily as we can through our failures. But I have rarely seen it. Almost always deep growth takes place through the opposite – our deaths, our losses, our dark nights of the soul.’
Through poverty and suffering John of the Cross learnt to ‘let go’ of what was blocking his path to union with God. He taught that it is by breaking the rope of our desires that we can fly to God and that someone who seeks happiness through attachment to the things of this world is like ‘a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air.’
John’s life of poverty and self-denial gave birth to a compassionate mystic who realised that God lived, not amongst the trappings of the world, but within the human heart: ‘Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won’t find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.’
‘As long as the soul is occupied with, and absorbed by the things of this life, it cannot recognise God as its only good.’ Sr Dalcerri.
‘God does not dwell fully in a heart which has not been emptied of everything in order to be open to Him alone. Everything must be given up, riches, learning, power and popularity.’ Barsotti.
To download the newsletter: One Heart January 2011 newsletter