It is a great privilege of my vocation to accompany so many people who are going through transformations in their lives. Often these transformations come in the face of a crisis, or on the back of suffering – they happen when something pushes us out of our comfort zones. If we are lucky, and we are surrounded by good people, we experience love, then these can be moments of great growth. Spiritual Growth is a transformation at a deep level that lasts.
Recently this ‘accompanying’ has made me realise what a bleak, dark and unhappy place so many people live in. This is the world without God – a world were power operates in an ugly way, a world which is violent, a world which is lonely, a world which is manipulative – where physical and sexual exploitation becomes normal. a world of pain and insecurity. To touch on this emptiness has made me very sad, but sometimes we are called to go into this world. It is have given me a new insight into the line in the creed ‘he descended to the dead’. When people turn their back on God our culture reverts to a form of paganism. This the world of Game of Thrones, cynical, manipulative, degrading. It is also the world of The Apprentice, divisive, humiliating, materialistic. The world where we can boast about sexual assault and conquest. So much unhappiness!
We all know that we were created for something better. We have an infinite longing to be loved and to love – freely, universally. But when we fill up that infinite longing with finite goods we will always be frustrated. This dissatisfaction leads us to a more frantic attempt to fill up the void – with wealth or pleasure or power or honour. The danger is we become addicted, trying to satisfy the hunger for God with something less than God , so the finite goods we think will make us happy, we become more and more attached to and less happy.
What is the way out? Detaching from these traps – Turning to our alpha and omega…. When we desire to love in a detached and free way, and we ask for this grace. When this divine love is at the centre, when there is no ambiguity in our heart, everything is ordered around this desire. Then we see the opposite dynamic of desperation and addiction, instead of spiralling down and constantly seeking good feelings which don’t last but leave us feeling more empty and lonely, we go the opposite way – the more one draws on the divine life it expands – because it is truly infinite. We get a new type of energy, a new depth of joy …. even a radiance if we are blessed. This is a life centred