Friday, December 27, 2013
Member, Cathedral of Hope, Dallas
“Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains but a single seed with no life…” John 12.24
Last fall I attended a spiritual retreat in the mountains of North Carolina. One afternoon I was strolling the campus admiring the emerging fall color when I happened upon a leafy twig on the path ahead of me. As I meditated on it’s beauty, changing as it was from green to bright hues of yellow, red & orange, it occurred to me that botanists tell us the bright autumn colors are there in the leaves all the time, from the very beginning of their existence, but are covered by the green till the leaf begins to let go, to die.
It wasn’t much of a stretch (especially on a spiritual retreat!) to begin thinking about my own life. How hard I’d worked for years to build up what Fr. Richard Rohr calls “the false self, small self or ego--who we think we are and how we define and market ourselves.”As a result, the real inner beauty that God created in me, my “true self” or “soul” was covered up, virtually unknown. Only when I began to see what was unimportant and let it go, yes, die to it, did the bright colors that God created in me began to show. Rohr says “none of us let go of our ego easily,“ and he’s right. Sometimes a fall frost (or ice storm!) will speed the leaf’s metamorphosis. Just so, “if we are blessed God will destabilize and begin to ‘break-down’ [our] false self.” As I continued to look at the leaf I noticed that this was not a uniform process--there were blotches of green still hanging on in places, just as I continue to find areas of false self and continue to strive to let them go--a life-long process no doubt.
And how about you? How much of the inner beauty God created in you is showing through? How much of your false self are you hanging on to? What might you let go of today? “I promise you that the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back. You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealized self images. Living in the true Self is quite simply a much happier existence..”
Holy One, teach me to let go, to die, that I may really begin to live.
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