Ronald Rolheiser – In his last book, The Living Flame of Love, John (St. John of the Cross) proposes a theory of, and a process for, healing. In essence, it runs this way: For John, we heal of our wounds, moral flaws, addictions, and bad habits by growing our virtues to the point where we become mature enough in our humanity so that there’s no more room left in our lives for the old behaviors that used to drag us down. In short, we get rid of the coldness, bitterness, and pettiness in our hearts by lighting inside our hearts enough warm fires to burn out the coldness and bitterness.
The algebra works this way: The more we grow in maturity, generativity, and generosity, the more our old wounds, bad habits, temperamental flaws, and addictions will disappear because our deeper maturity will no longer leave room for them in our lives. Positive growth of our hearts, like a vigorous plant, eventually chokes-out the weeds. If you went to John of the Cross and asked him to help you deal with a certain bad habit in your life, his focus wouldn’t be on how to weed-out that habit. Instead the focus would be on growing your virtues: What are you doing well? What are your best qualities? What goodness in you needs to be fanned fan into fuller flame?
By growing what’s positive in us, we eventually become big-hearted enough so that there’s no room left for our former bad habits. The path to healing is to water our virtues so that these virtues themselves will be the fire that burns out the festering wounds, addictions, bad habits, and temperamental flaws that have, for far too long, plagued our lives and kept us wallowing in weakness and pettiness rather than walking in maturity, generosity, and generativity.
“The historian knows how vulnerable is the whole texture of facts in which we spend our daily lives; it is always in danger of being perforated by single lies or torn to shreds by the organized lying of groups, nations, or classes, or denied and distorted, often carefully covered up by reams of falsehoods or simply allowed to fall into oblivion. Facts need testimony to be remembered and trustworthy witnesses to be established in order to find a secure dwelling place in the domain of human affairs.” – Hannah Arendt – Lying in Politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers
The Lame Goat – Rumi
You’ve seen a herd of goats
going down to the water.
The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.
There are worried faces about that one,
but now they’re laughing,
because look, as they return,
that goat is leading!
There are many different kinds of knowing.
The lame goat’s kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.
Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.
On the Feast of St. James the Greater
(for Joe C.)
This is where
he would have fished
him in the dark
light he loses
all balance and
muffling the dry
what we heard
is in the mist
we’ll never take
© 2018 Bill Schulz
Can I get used to it day after day
a little at a time while the tide keeps
coming in faster the waves get bigger
building on each other breaking records
this is not the world that I remember
then comes the day when I open the box
that I remember packing with such care
and there is the face that I had known well
in little pieces staring up at me
it is not mentioned on the front pages
but somewhere far back near the real estate
among the things that happen every day
to someone who now happens to be me
and what can I do and who can tell me
then there is what the doctor comes to say
endless patience will never be enough
the only hope is to be the daylight