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Losing Self

I hope you enjoy this comment by Ruth Burrows

Parallels between John of Cross and Ignatius of Loyola
“Ascent to Love:
The spiritual Teaching of St. John of the Cross”
by Ruth Burrows

“John of the Cross says if you want God, if you want
 to begin the ascent of the mountain, then you have to 
make a decision against self-importance. You have to remove yourself from the center-stage, see yourself as a member of a family, a community which you must serve.
This is what Jesus taught, and Paul after him.”

”Such a Willingness to forget the ego,
to lose sight of it, calls for firm faith in God’s love.”

”John of the Cross considers that there are very few 
spiritual persons who arrive at perfect courage and
 resolution in their conduct, free of all human respect. Some try to be detached and think they are
but they never entirely forget themselves on certain points regarding self-esteem and what the world thinks of them. They never wholly despise appearances. They can never say with the true bride: ‘Being deeply in love, I lost sight of myself; and yet was found…
They who truly love make shipwreck of themselves.'” 

”In his writings John of the Cross often speaks of
refreshment of spirit, how freedom from the ego brings peace. Indulging our selfishness only wearies us. 
The ego is like a child, fractious, restless, wanting
 now this, now that, never content with what is given. 
Afflictions and pain flow from the ego, Refreshment from the Spirit of God. The two cannot dwell together.

We all know what it is to be tormented and afflicted, laboring under a burden of anxiety and desire. ‘Cast it aside by coming to me,’ says Jesus. 
’I will refresh you.’
As fog darkens the sky and obscures the sun, or as a dirty mirror distorts an image, so the unbridled ego blocks light. Our natural power of reasoning is affected; we cannot see things as they are, cannot evaluate objectively while dominated by emotion and selfish desires. Still more,we are prevented from receiving the infused divine light. The finest intellect in the world cannot perceive truth while the heart is under the sway of selfishness.”

”The first effect of the divine encounter is a sharp
attack on this self-seeking. The stronger-than-we
comes to claim his own — and a hard time he has of
it! In all sorts of ways, in the events of our daily
life, in the lack of savor for spiritual things, he
seeks to reveal our helplessness, our inability to manage by ourselves.
Our very resistance increases our pain. We cannot trust. Inevitably we are basing everything on ourselves, our efforts, our success, our prayer and when these fail we panic.
‘How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.’ Hard, not because we cannot rise to heroic deeds,
not because some extraordinary feet is required, but simply because we cannot trust what we cannot see, understand, and control.

The kingdom of God, God’s own world is around us; there is simply nothing to stop us entering into it save that we are lumbered up, so bulging with self-possession that we cannot squeeze through the 
narrow door accessible only to ‘little ones’.”

”Those emotionally insecure, with a low self-image,
 for instance, are going to find all this much harder to bear than the secure person with a proper sense of personal value.

While guarding against assessment of the reality and depth of a spiritual happening by intensity of feeling, we must at the same time be ready to acknowledge that there may well be a truly mystical experience underneath a lot of neurotic symptoms.

God comes to us as we are, through what we are. Everything can be taken up and used by him To free us from ourselves and surrender us to him. 
Ostensible handicaps can prove a blessing
if only we will trust that what is impossible to us is possible to God, for ‘everything is possible to God’.”


Written by John Hannah

November 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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