The following blog entry is a repost from Joan Chittister from The Monastic Way.
The Monastic Way is for people who lead a busy life, but long for greater spiritual depth. In the 2015 monthly issues, Joan Chittister explores quotations from great spiritual figures who dealt with the same kind of soul-stretching questions that each of us do. You’re invited to join her in this simple practice that takes minutes from your day but gives meaning for a lifetime.
Joan Chittister wrote this and the art work is by Brother Mickey McGrath
“In the center of us all, guiding and calling, prodding and poking at the lassitude in our souls, the fear in our hearts, the frettings at the bottom of our minds, lies the spark of life that we recognize most clearly as “my-self.” This is the “me” that is always there in its rawest form. The “me” of all my distant hopes and all my controlling feelings. This is the “person” that I know myself to be—whether anyone else knows that part of me or not.
The recognition of this self in me is the beginning of the spiritual life. With it comes the awareness of what we call the “true” self. This is the me, the one who is the vessel of both my inmost feelings, positive and negative, and my most illuminating, most uncensored insights into my reason for being, my place in the universe, my relationship with God.
This innermost self is the raw material of our spirituality. It signals the demons with which we struggle our way through life and it identifies the angels of our better nature who carry us from one level of the self to the next. In our “deepest” we know the best and the weakest of our spiritual selves. In this place we can see where our heart really lies in life and we can name the demons with which we wage our daily wars: to be better, to do good, to live with clay feet on a divine path.
Our “deepest” is clearly where the real me drives me on from desire to desire. Our inner talk there is about ourselves. Our concerns, down deep, are too commonly only for ourselves. Our struggles emerge there out of the dreams and disappointments, the demands and the denials we breed with ourselves in mind. But not Catherine of Genoa’s. Her “deepest” is God. Her center of life is God. Her awareness of her basic self is her understanding of Emmanuel, God with us, always, in her.
The thought stuns us into a new awareness of the nature of our own lives. Here is a woman who knew without doubt that the God she sought was the God who was her very breath itself. When she turned to the “self” within she discovered the God who had created her, sustained her and drew her on through life.
Unusual? Not really.
The fact is that our “deepest” is God, too. Only it takes most of us years to discover that. The process is a profound one.”