We are all addicts

Richard Rohr –

We are all addicts. Human beings are addictive by nature. Addiction is a modern name and description for what the biblical tradition calls “sin” and the medieval Christians called “passions” or “attachments.” They both recognized that serious measures, or practices, were needed to break us out of these illusions and entrapments; in fact, the New Testament calls them in some cases “exorcisms!” They knew they were dealing with non-rational evil or “demons.”
Substance addictions are merely the most visible form of addiction, but actually we are all addicted to our own habitual way of doing anything, our own defenses, and most especially our patterned way of thinking, or how we process our reality. By definition you can never see or handle what you are addicted to. It is always “hidden” and disguised as something else. As Jesus did with the demon at Gerasa, someone must say, “What is your name?” (Luke 8:30). You cannot heal what you do not first acknowledge.

anomie

“Oh, God, we have been an exile in our own country
and a stranger in another land…” – Bruce “Utah” Phillips

anomie noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
In the social sciences, a condition of social instability or personal unrest resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals. The term was introduced in 1897 by Émile Durkheim, who believed that one type of suicide (anomic) resulted from the breakdown of social standards that people need and use to regulate their behavior. Robert K. Merton studied the causes of anomie in the U.S., finding it severest in persons who lack acceptable means of achieving their cultural goals. Delinquency, crime, and suicide are often reactions to anomie. See also alienation.

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hope does not put us to shame

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:2-5

And when I saw a holy Grail…

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“Sir,” said Perceval, “for five
Full years I haven’t known
Where I was, or believed in God,
Or loved Him. All I have done
Was evil.” “Good friend,” said the hermit,
“Tell me why this happened,
And pray God to have mercy
On your sinful soul.” “Sir,
Once I was at the Fisher King’s
Castle, and I saw – the bleeding lance,
And seeing that drop of blood
On the bright white of its point,
I never asked what or why.
There are no amends I can make.
And when I saw a holy
Grail, I had no idea
For whom it was meant, and said nothing.
And ever since I’ve felt
Such sadness that I wished to die;
I forgot about God and never
Prayed for his grace and mercy
Or did what I should to deserve it.”
“Ah,” said the hermit. “Good friend,
Now you must tell me your name.”
And he answered, “Perceval, sir.”
And hearing this, the hermit
Sighed, for he knew that name,
And said, “Brother, this comes
From a sin of which you know nothing…”
– Perceval, Chretien de Troyes (6365 – 6394)

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through . . .

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity.
We will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Becoming a child again – the way to spiritual maturity

The great temptation is to use our obvious failures and disappointments in our lives to convince ourselves that we are really not worth being loved. Because what do we have to show for ourselves? But for a person of faith the opposite is true. The many failures may open that place in us where we have nothing to brag about but everything to be loved for. It is becoming a child again, a child who is loved simply for being, simply for smiling, simply for reaching out. This is the way to spiritual maturity: to receive love as a pure, free gift. – Henri Nouwen

From the Book of Isaiah the Prophet

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a woman forget her nursing child,

or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.
Your builders outdo your destroyers,
and those who laid you waste go away from you.
Lift up your eyes all around and see;
they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
you shall put all of them on like an ornament,
and like a bride you shall bind them on.
Surely your waste and your desolate places
and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children born in the time of your bereavement
will yet say in your hearing:
“The place is too crowded for me;
make room for me to settle.”
Then you will say in your heart,
“Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
exiled and put away—
so who has reared these?
I was left all alone—
where then have these come from?”

Isaiah 49:14-21

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Photo: Siena, IT – January 2005 (yet I will not forget you./See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.)