Monday, October 3, 2011


Perhaps if I wanted to find some sort of deep, soul-satisfying peace in my silent wanderings last weekend, I shouldn't have listened to an audio recording of Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge on the drive to the monastery.  Probably not a good call.

I tried not to have any expectations, but I found myself somewhat disappointed by the lack of extraordinary.  And then I picked up a little book called, Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen.
Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply.  It is like discovering a well in the desert.  Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper....
Remember that feeling of diving into a new relationship that makes you want to stay up late into the night talking, discovering all you can about this new person before you?  In the same way, being intimately awakened to the tenderness of God through suffering makes you want to jump in head first and drink up everything you can.  Except that there is no end to God.  Had we never been separated from him in the fall, an eternity would still be needed to plumb the depths of God's mysterious goodness.  And I realized that my frustration was really impatience, as if I could force my soul to enlarge or my eyes to open.
From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are.  Becoming the beloved is the great spiritual journey we have to make.
If it is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved; if it is true that we not only are the children of God, but also have to become the children of God; if it is true that we not only are brothers and sisters, but also have to become brothers and sisters...  If all that is true, then how can we get a grip on this process of becoming?  If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming?
...  This is such an important question because it forces us to let go of any romanticism or idealism and to deal with the utter concreteness of our daily lives.  Becoming the Beloved means letting the truth of our Belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say, or do.  It entails a long painful process of appropriation or, better, incarnation.  As long as "being the Beloved" is little more than a beautiful thought or a lofty idea that hangs above my life to keep me from becoming depressed, nothing really changes.  What is required os to become the Beloved in the commonplaces of my daily existence and, bit by bit, to close the gap that exists between what I know myself to be and the countless specific realities of everyday life.
Isn't that just good enough to soak in?

So I let go of my expectations for the weekend and just tried to be present, prayerfully asking God to show me that I am his Beloved, and I plan to carry that prayer into the days and weeks to come.

1 comment:

  1. Flattery o'Conner scared me out of my mind. I'd love to know your thoughts about her.