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La Experiencia Psicológica de la Oración Centrante, parte 2

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>> This is a palm tree. We're looking at the Middle East here. And in the middle of this plain is that funny kind of hill. Now this is called the "tell" in the Near East, which is a series of civilizations built one on another for some reason when one army burnt down another city, they'd just build another one on top of it, and so it's an archaeologist's delight because in the same place you get layers of civilization. So let's... Let's just have a markup of that. And here it is. This is that now isolated so that we can discuss it. So, where would an archaeologist begin? Obviously at the top of the pile, and he would throw away the chards, and the dust, and dirt, and send the beautiful mosaics, and pots, and pans to the British Museum. And then take a little year off, and come back, and do the next layer of civilization, and so on until he came down to, I guess, the Stone Age, where the first city dwellers finally built a home. And in each one of these levels there are precious treasures to preserve and junk to be, you know, thrown out. Now it seems to me that this model, the archaeological dig, is very similar to the divine therapy. In other words, the Holy Spirit takes us where we are right now, whenever you are converted, decide you're going to pray, decide you're going to give yourself to a serious pursuit of the truth, the divine life, however you extrapolate that in your own mind. So the first stage then might be called the spring time of the spiritual life or in religious life, it's called the... What is it called? >> Fervor. >> The fervor of the novices, yeah. Thank you. It has been a while since I was a novice. [laughter] So what happens at that moment is that one begins to get interested in Scripture, the person of Jesus Christ if it's a Christian conversion, the sacraments get more interesting, one begins to have a daily time for Scripture reading or prayer, one meets nice people, one goes to bingo. One... [laughter] Contributes to the support of the pastors, maybe gives a great donation to the propagation of the faith, buys Christian, reads the NCR and other nourishing journals for your piety, and so you get all excited about the spiritual journey, and... And it's a real beginning that you hope is going on forever. Well, then comes, the Holy Spirit decides, well, this guy or this gal seems to be ready for our next excavation. And so, he begins to look at this period in our life which depending on when the conversion began, might be old age, midlife, early life, even adolescence. And so, in the transition from one stage to another, obviously you lose the great treasures in some degree you were enjoying here in order to start digging, and the digging is sweaty and hard work and so on. And so, let's say this is late adulthood in here. And so, the painful experience is that all the good things that one was enjoying with a great deal of emotional fervor begin to dry out in some way. Like John of the Cross calls this the Night of Sense, so that you no longer can meditate easily or you get tired of conversing with God, or the spiritual reading of Scriptures is like reading the telephone book. And you run into other troubles, your spiritual direction goes away or dies, or you have an altercation with your superiors. Everything starts to go wrong, in other words, and one begins to feel, "Well, maybe this isn't gonna work, the spiritual journey must be for the Trappists and Carmelites, it's not for me, I'm just an old slug of clay here, and I never was any good anyway." And here's where the low self-image comes in and says, "Well, I'm not for God and I'm just, you know, a worm and no man," and so on. This is the worm theology you heard about earlier. And so, if you're in religious life it could be reinforced by all those great clichés. Renunciation, the words of renunciation were never meant for people with a low self-image. Never give that stuff to them, because they will misinterpret that, and then still like to talk about the higher states of consciousness and no self. Because "no self" is just what they want anyway, it's too heavy a burden, so that's not the "no self" that the Buddhists are talking about or the higher ranges of transforming union in which the self becomes less and less, an "I" and more and more of Christ's life in us. So this is a very disconcerting period in the spiritual life. But the spirit doesn't stop there, there's usually a plateau in which one begins to see that in spite of all the aches and pains of that, of losing the joys of the first conversion, there are some very real benefits. For instance, one becomes less judgmental, one doesn't regard oneself as an elite person, one doesn't condemn the other people who don't have quite the same observance. If you are a Trappist, you go a little easier on the Benedictines. If you are a Dominican, you know, you don't say the same swear words about the Jesuits, and so on, and I suppose this happens in the congregations of women too, I don't know them quite so well. But... So the spirit is relentless because once we enter this conversion, the spirit presumes that we're interested in this project. It's as if you hire the spirit as your therapist and you agree to your interviews which are the prayer periods, and so there begins this serious investigation of your entire personal life history beginning now and working layer by layer. Now agreed that the spirit sometimes skips a few layers or it turns things upside down, but normally, this is a guideline again, normally there's a certain progression beginning where you are and then dealing with where you are next, like you might, suppose this is the midlife crisis so he goes through that and throws out things that should have been or never have been there in the first place, and he saves what was beneficial at that age. Then we're back into, let's say, early adulthood. Each of these periods of life have great value, but what we did with them under the influence of our energy centers, which were seeking happiness in the wrong places, could have distorted the values of that period. So the spirit is healing everything and never denies anything that was good in our whole life, and even makes use of our mistakes and sins to help to purify us and to bring us to humility and interior freedom. But notice, each time we go to another level, there's something of a crisis of faith because God seems to disappear from our, you know, the usual relationship we were having, and our usual devotions, and so on. And so they can be more or less disconcerting, but relentlessly and lovingly the spirit keeps digging. And so whenever the spirit seems to disappear or whenever you're in tough shape, it doesn't mean that God is angry or has gone away, or that you're no good, or that you don't know what to do next, you just sit it out, you just wait it out and sure enough, when the enough digging has been done you find yourself at the next level which is a kind of plateau with a new level of freedom, peace, and joy, and capacity to serve others. Now there's one serious problem here and that is, as the divine light, stronger than any laser beam begins to get into early childhood, say before three or four and back, the psychological experience, what's it gonna be? That you're getting worse. And this is very disconcerting for holy souls that have been struggling to practice the virtues with some but not complete success, and who are experiencing a recycling of some of the problems that they thought they had dealt with up here. In other words, a relationship that never quite healed gets scratchy again, the temptation that was never quite resolved but seemed to be quiet rises again, or some new things occur because we're getting down towards early life where the motivation was more hidden from us because of repressive factor apparatus, and we find out that we're basically an angry person or a hostile person, not to mention a prideful person, or maybe you're here to hit a level, let us say, you pass through once again the age of puberty and all the sexual energy of that period that you might have successfully repressed more or less begins to explode into your life, and so it's a little embarrassing in your late 50s to be dealing with adolescence, but fortunately, it doesn't take so long at that age. But any number of people in religious life and maybe married life, I guess, who were taught of the risks of mortal sin in such a degree that even the smallest thought would land you in hell. These people are terribly repressed, and maybe successfully, the last place they should enter is a seminary at this stage until they've resolved their psycho-sexual maturity in some degree. That's why I'm happy to see that people enter religious life in the priesthood older. If they took my advice, no one would enter the sunny side of 40, and 45 would be preferable. It would be good for everyone to go through the midlife crisis before making a permanent commitment to celibacy, 'cause I don't know that you'll make it, frankly. [laughter] And I've seen the most tragic situations, the terrible scruples for the most wonderful people on earth, they are just tortured by scruples that they got in early life. Or again, you know, very excellent people with all kinds of things who had so successfully repressed their sexuality in a minor seminary or similar circumstances, that they didn't even know their sexual orientation, and at 55, either through humility, 'cause the prideful reasons for behaving have all now worn away by the wear and tear of life, it just crashes through their defense mechanisms and they may spend several years almost hopelessly at the mercy of lustful feelings and perhaps activity. And these are the very best people. So they've been betrayed by the system in which sexuality was never taught adequately in seminaries and perhaps even in Catholic schools. Well, something is beginning to be done in that area, but still very little and I think some of the tragedies we're hearing about in the press at this point, I mean, are due directly to a failure to provide adequate seminary formation in what is the most important energy in human life, which is sexuality. It has to be dealt with, if it isn't in early life, it will simply explode in your 50s and perhaps 60s to the great detriment of one's self-confidence and perhaps one's ministries. And I think that married couples suffer somewhat similar if one of them has been through repression or perhaps sexual abuse. I mean, someone who has suffered from sexual abuse needs a lot of therapy in order to be able to lead a normal sexual life, to be able to give themselves to someone else in sexual love that is appropriate. So what I'm saying is all these deep emotional wounds that have been unaddressed in early life begin to be addressed when there's a sufficient rest in the mind and body, and trust in God through the increasing experience that this therapy works. In other words, one begins to love God and trust God so that you're not afraid of what comes up, and perhaps the bottom line is... When it doesn't matter to you what comes up, you're pretty close to divine union at that point. Because we are exactly who we are with all the damage we've brought with us from early life and whatever we've added, and this is what God is working with, and this seems to me is what the cross of Christ really is. It's who we are with our wounds and God is asking us to bear that for the love of God, and that God will help us to gradually climb out of that in some degree, but if we don't finish the job, it doesn't matter. Because, basically, the Christian perfection is love and nothing else, and so if we love our weakness, our frailty, even our sinfulness for the love of God, in other words, if you can't get over it, love that, and let that be your service of God, because God has come to live with sinners, and so He seems to prefer them if anything. [laughter] So maybe He wouldn't like us if we were perfect. He'd be bored to tears, there'd be nothing to do, but there's not much danger of that happening in one lifetime. [laughter] So it's very important then for holy souls, I say those who've been in religion a long time are on the spiritual journey to remember that as you feel worse, as the more primitive emotions arise, as thoughts you never thought you could possibly have entered your mind when you started out the religious life, when these start coming to mind, raw anger, grief, despair, lust, apathy, etcetera, all the capital sins, when these appear in your awareness and in primitive and raw forms, then rejoice. You're getting to the bottom of the pile, and just wait a few years, and when you're at the bottom of the pile... Where are you? You're in divine union. There is no other obstacle. God is there, waiting for you, and has been directing you to that point urging you to come there, and changing not so much your habits but your attitude. In Christianity motivation is everything. And it's an attitude of loving acceptance of our disabilities, our handicaps, who we are, the person we're married to, the community we have to live in, this world in which we have to live might drop a bomb on us, it might shoot you across the street, wind up in the hospital, get AIDS, all the rest of it, it doesn't matter. It's all God's particular love for us. And it's the accepting and welcoming, which is the idea that the open mind, open heart has added, in other words, Cassady recommended accepting everything that happens in abandoning, the open mind, open heart practice that Mary Mrozowski developed with her associates at Chrysalis, it's not just to be accepted. Welcome, welcome, oh, boy, this lovely headache, welcome, my broken arm, my terrible divorce, praise the Lord. I mean, it's the attitude towards daily life where the Kingdom is most powerful. And I don't know that you can get there without being willing to descend this archaeological dig, and the dig gets pretty deep as you get older, and as you surrender to it, as you agree to it, and from time to time, it may need a little psychological help. The final diagram is a dynamic view of the horizontal and vertical model. Because life is life, it doesn't just get categorized, and I think the best model to describe the spiritual journey is not hierarchical, God forbid, or a ladder, or for that matter, a circle, it's a spiral staircase. And I'd like to leave you when we come back next time with a thorough discussion of the spiral staircase as the process of the divine therapy in its most integrated and complete form. Thank you.

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Producer: Contemplative Outreach Ltd.
Director: Contemplative Outreach Ltd.
Views: 151
Posted by: castella on Dec 5, 2016

El Padre Thomas Keating, OCSO continúa explicando la experiencia psicológica de la práctica diaria de la Oración Centrante.

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