Alastair McCollum
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Pause for thought VI

Reconcile Yourself

Reconciliation: between nations, within Christian community, between any human beings and, indeed, with creation, starts in one place. Ourselves. 

Our spiritual path is one of healing, which is the ultimate goal of reconciliation. Jesus, the Incarnate Word, put healing at the center of his ministry - however we interpret the stories of miraculous healing (literally or metaphorically), we see them as the foundation of Jesus' encounters with people. These 'miracles' are not shown as 'magic tricks' in the Gospel stories, but as signs of the 'breaking in' of God's reality to our everyday reality, the 'coming of the kingdom of God' as Jesus refers to it. The healing miracles in the Gospel accounts are ways in which people are moved towards wholeness, reconciled with their bodies, reconciled with friend and families, reconciled with communities.

We talk, in the Church, of healing not as 'getting better' but of the process of being made whole. Healing of memories, healing of hearts, healing of ourselves, and (sometimes) healing of bodies. Healing is being reconciled within ourselves, integration, acceptance of who we are, and a knowledge of being loved completely by God.

When we see within ourselves those things which we dislike, or which frighten us, or cause us pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, psychic) we often shy away from them, or pretend they don't exist. The path towards wholeness calls us to confront those parts of ourselves which we find difficult, or which we are afraid of. 

We often separate things into opposing dualities, false dichotomies of dark and light, wrong and right, good and bad - yet the scriptures remind us that in God there is no duality, only oneness; even,  say the Psalms, addressing God, "The darkness and the light are both alike to you" (Psalm 139.12).

Our calling is to reconciliation; wholeness, healing, integration. This begins with ourselves, in partnership with the Divine, in whom there is no fragmentation, no duality, only full and complete one-ness.

 

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

                                        Stanley Kunitz

 

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.