From the Epilogue

Posted on 2007-07-21. Filed under: Thoughts |

This is the beginning of the Epilogue of The Sacred Romance:

The Sacred Romance calls to us every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love. We’ve heard it in our favorite music, sensed it at the birth of our first child, been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean. It is even present in times of great personal suffering – the illness of a child, the loss of a marriage, the death of a friend. Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty, and adventure. This longing is the most powerful part of any human personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive. However we may describe this deep desire, it is the most important thing about us, our heart of hearts, the passion of our life. And the voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God.

Later, it goes on:

“The whole life of the good Christian,” said Augustine, “is a holy longing.” Sadly, many of us have been led to feel that somehow we outght to want less, not more. We have this sense that we should atone for our longings, apologize that we feel such deep desire. Shouldn’t we be more content? Perhaps, but contentment is never wanting less; that’s the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if she’s killed her heart; the real test is to have you heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what ther is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come. In Paul’s words, we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly” (Rom. 8:23). Contentment can only happen as we increase desire, let it run itself out toward its fulfillment, and carry us along with it. And so George Herbert prayed,

Immortal Heat, O let thy greater flame

Attract thelesser to it: let those fires,

Which shall consume the world, first make it tame;

And kindle in our hearts such true desires,

As may consume our lusts, and make thee way.

Then shall our hearts pant thee. (Love)

There may be times when all we have to go on is a sense of duty. But in the end, if that is all we have, we will never make it.

And still later:

The redeemed heart hungers for beauty. But the sword cuts both ways. While our heart grows in its capacity for pleasure, it grows in its capacity to know pain. The two go hand in hand. What, then, shall we do withdisappointment? We can be our own enemy, depending on how we handle the heartache that comes with desire. To want is to suffer; the word passion means to suffer. This is why many Christians are reluctant to listen to their hearts. They know that their dullness is keeping them from feeling the pain of life. Many of us have chosen simply not to want so much; it’s safer that way. It’s also godless. That’s stoicism, not Christianity. Sanctification is an awakening, the rousing of our souls from the dead sleep of sin in to the fullness of their capacity for life. Desire often feels like an enemy, because it wakes longings that cannot be fulfilled in the moment.

There is so much to glean from the above as well. In Matthew 23:25-28 and in Isaiah 29:13, we see that God is more concerned with the desires of our heart than he is with what we feel we ought to do, with our duty. These thoughts speak to me so much right now. I have been feeling this longing for something more for quite some time. I am headed to the desert to receive it from God.

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