Friday, January 13, 2017

Spirituality: "Dis-Grace” by Gregory Boyle, S.J.

Author and psychiatrist James Gilligan writes that the self cannot survive without love, and the self, starved of love, dies. The absence of self-love is shame, “just as cold is the absence of warmth.” Disgrace obscuring the sun.

Guilt, of course, is feeling bad about one’s actions, but shame is feeling bad about oneself. Failure, embarrassment, weakness, overwhelming worthlessness, and feeling disgracefully “less than” – all permeating the marrow of the soul.

Mother Teresa told a roomful of lepers once how loved by God they were and a “gift to the rest of us.” Interpreting her, an old leper raises his hand, and she calls on him. “Could you repeat that again? It did me good. So, would you mind … just saying it again.”

Franciscan Richard Rohr writes that “the Lord comes to us disguised as ourselves.”

We’ve come to believe that we grow into this. The only thing we know about Jesus “growing up” is that he “grew in age, wisdom, and favor with God.” But do we really grow in favor with God? Did Jesus become increasingly more favorable to God, or did he just discover, over time, that he was wholly favorable?

Source: Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, pp.46-47.