Biography of a Soul…notes to a seeker.
Like St. Teresa of Avila, whose Abbess instructed her to write her Autobiography of a Soul, creating a map to follow toward the heart of God, I offer a Biography of a Soul, notes to encourage and equip your heart to seek God’s heart.
Like Screwtape to Wormwood, I make practical suggestions about how to continue toward God’s good will. Read on, won’t you?
Mary Cassatt, The Two Sisters, Public Domain
My Dear Seeker,
I often feel so inadequate to be writing to you about the things of the Spiritual Life. I frequently come face to face with my own monumental flaws, flaws that cause dark shadows to be cast on the landscape of my soul. At such times I am tempted to cower in their shade, eyes closed, hands over my face. Cold and accusing, I am convinced that there is no good in me, I am helpless, I can’t even look beyond the darkness of that gloom. I am lost in my pain.
But, I remember God’s truth, even when I don’t feel it. There is hope. Shadows are only cast when there is a source of light. God’s light is shining in me and on me. God’s love is illuminating my life, and it is his kindness that causes my pain. In his light, the contrast between life and death is obvious. My eyes are opened to the times and places I prefer the comfort and familiarity of death. Oh the pain of knowing there is life available to me and I cling to death. Oh, the pain of having to die to death.
How in the world is it possible to step into the light? There must be a way out of the shadows.
Take courage, my soul. The fact that you know you are in the dark is the beginning. Realizing you are living in the shadow reminds you that there is light. Remove your hands from your face, open your eyes, and look toward the light. Remember the feel of the sun on your face, the warmth of the daylight on your skin, and the relaxation you experience when resting in the sunlight. Focus your mind’s attention on the goodness of that light. Choose to remain with these thoughts holding them in your baptized imagination. When you are tempted to avert your eyes from the light and look again toward the darkness, repent. Practice letting yourself choose to stay with the light.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” Helen H. Lemmel
This interior turning is the source of the transformed life. Facing Jesus, choosing Jesus, remaining focussed and intent upon Jesus is the only way into the light. It is a difficult practice to develop, we are bent toward the dark. It requires effort and commitment to stretch toward the light. But I am convinced that this work is our cooperation with the grace of God. When we face the light, the shadows fall behind us and we see only the glory of God.
With you on the journey,