Winter is now fully upon us. Amidst all the cold and the wind, we can easily get a little dispirited and wonder whether the sun will ever shine again, writes Br Mark O'Connor fms at Melbourne Catholic.
At such times, it's good to enter within our souls and remember the Lord is within each of us — closer to us than we are to ourselves.
For if we cannot rediscover our "interior mansion," as St Teresa of Ávila would say, then all our efforts at living the Gospel will be superficial. Worse, our witness will be hollow.
That is why I like the poetry of the late Swedish writer and psychologist Tomas Tranströmer (winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature). Tranströmer was a mystical observer of the sacred in the ordinary; someone who, although felled by a stroke 20 years ago and unable to speak, kept on communicating, even in the "winter" of his life.
I especially love his poem Romanesque Arches because it captures something of how we Christians must reach out to others. For it is from the depths of our inner humanity that we must witness, like Jesus, to the coming of the Reign of God.
A few of his lines suggest a way forward: Don't be ashamed to be a human being, be proud! A fundamental principle of the spiritual life is to accept one's humanity graciously. To forgo self-hatred, and the opposite extreme position of grandiosity and narcissistic delusions about one's self, is (in Ignatian terms) to accept one's creaturehood.
Certainly, no evangelisation can take place if the evangeliser does not join the human race! And it is surprising how many people do not! We must never forget that we are disciples of an incarnate God.
Consider the gaze of Mary on the tiny face of the infant Jesus. As Francis Webb put it: "The tiny, not the immense, will teach our groping eyes."
Our God became one of us! That is our ultimate boast.
'God Is At Home' – Reflection, by Brother Mark O'Connor (Melbourne Catholic)