"I Will Refresh You"

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More from Sister Ruth

from Ascent to Love
Sr Ruth Burrows

In his writings John often speaks of refreshment of spirit, how freedom from the ego brings peace. Ingulging our selfhisness only wearies us. The ego is like a child, fractious, restless, wanting now this, now that, never content with what is given. Afflictions and pain flow from the ego, refreshment from the Spirit of God. The two cannot dwell together. We all know what it is to be tormented and afflicted, labouring under a burden of anxiety and desire. 'Cast it aside by coming to me,' says Jesus. 'I will refresh you.' As fog darkens the sky and obscures the sun, or as a dirty mirror distorts an image, so the unbridled ego blocks light. Our natural power of reasoning is affected; we cannot see things as they are, cannot evaluate objectively while dominated by emotion and selfish desires. Still more, we are prevented from receiving the infused divine light. The finest intellect in the world cannot perceive truth while the heart is under the sway of selfishness.

God is one. God is simple. In order to join God, we cannot introduce an element that is not-God--this is contradictory to divinity and to divine union. One cannot be in union when one insists on a completely separate identity. And we do want to be recognized for what we are and what we do. When we get that recognition, it is rarely enough. We begin to seek larger rewards, better recognition. The self always triumphs over our better inclinations.

But surrendering to God is always refreshment. When we stop struggling against the bonds of self, we can walk out of chains. Self is like one of those Chinese puzzle traps, the more you pull to escape it, the tighter it clings to you. However, relax and the trap releases you. So with the self, the more we think about self and about how we need to escape self and about how bad self is, the more we become mired in self. But when we direct our attention outward, if only for a moment, to Jesus, to God, to the Blessed Virgin, to all of the things in the world beyond us, the tension is relaxed and we stand a good chance of escaping from self.

The secret of escape is not to look for the way out, but to look at the Way into the Heart of God.

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One small thing: while we cannot cling to self, we are not to lose our identity, either. We are to have union with God, not annihilation of self (like the Buddhists).

Dear Katherine,

To modify your point--we ARE called to annhilate the false identity we have fabricated for ourselves and assume our true selves in Christ (unless a grain of wheat should die. . .), so, in fact, while the Buddhists may say it differently, there is an aspect of the truth in what they call for--the annhiliation of ego--false self for integration into (in the Buddhist realm--Samadhi or Nirvana) Christian Identity.

Too often we confuse our "identities" those masks and false fronts we have put on, with our Identity, which is the place we hold in the body of Christ.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 25, 2005 7:51 AM.

For the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales was the previous entry in this blog.

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