And some final thoughts on longing from John O’Donohue’s essay on fire.
This is the longing in all spirituality: to come in out of the winter of alienation, self-division and exile and into the hearth of warmth and at-one-ment.
… the fire of longing is what confers life. This longing brings one beyond every safe frontier. It is in the giving of oneself to the fire that ultimate transfiguration and renewal comes.
John O’Donohue, ‘Fire: At Home at the Hearth of Spirit’, in: The Four Elements: Reflections on Nature
Some quotes from Belden Lane’s The Solace of Fierce Landscapes to complement my previous post:
The starting point for many things is grief, at the place where endings seem so absolute.
Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty, all embarrassment into laughter. In biblical faith, brokenness is never celebrated as an end in itself.
God can only be met in emptiness, by those who come in love, abandoning all effort to control …
… tragedy in one’s personal life can be trusted as a gift of God’s unfailing presence far more than trances, raptures, or visions received in so-called mystical experiences.
Referring to Moses’ and Elijah’s experience of God, Lane comments:
In both cases, their ‘seeing’ of God on the mountain was but an interlude in an ongoing struggle, given at a time when the absence of God seemed for them most painfully real. Transfiguration is a hidden, apocalyptic event, offering to those facing anguish a brief glimpse of glory to come. It incorporates a theology of hope into a theology of abandonment and loss.