A crack in our pitcher

There's a much-quoted line from Leonard Cohen that suggests that the place where we are broken is also the place where our redemption starts: There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in, writes Ron Rolheiser.

That's true, a major wound is often the place where wisdom flows into our lives and a weakness that habitually overpowers us can keep us aware of our need for grace. But that's half of the equation. A fault, while keeping us humble, can also keep us in mediocrity and joylessness.  John of the Cross offers us this image by way of an explanation:

If one small crack in a pitcher goes unrepaired, the damage will be enough to cause all the liquid to leak out. ... Accordingly, one imperfection leads to another, and these to still more.

You will scarcely ever find a person negligent in the conquering of one appetite who will not have many others flowing from the identical weakness and imperfection caused by this one appetite. Such persons, consequently, are ever faltering along the road.

We have witnessed many persons, whom God was favoring with much progress in detachment and freedom, fall from happiness and stability in their spiritual exercises and end up losing everything merely because they began to indulge in some slight attachment to conversation and friendship under the appearance of good.

For by this attachment they gradually emptied themselves of holy solitude and the spirit and joy of God. All this happened because they did not put a stop to their initial satisfaction and sensitive pleasure, and preserve themselves for God in solitude. (Ascent to Mount Carmel, Book I, Chapter 11).

Although this passage was written more specifically for contemplative monks and nuns and a warning against "attachment to conversation and friendship" will sound strange and unhealthy to us, there's part of us that understands exactly what he is saying.

FULL STORY A crack in our pitcher (Ron Rolheiser)

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