DESIRE // LENT D::31
[ READING :: Romans 6:1-14 ]
“Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God...”
We have in us spirit, soul, and what we do with that soul is our spirituality. At a very basic level, long before anything explicitly religious need be mentioned, it is true to say that if we do things which keep us energized and integrated, on fire and yet glued together, we have a healthy spirituality. Conversely, if our yearning drives us into actions which harden our insides or cause us to fall apart and die then we have an unhealthy spirituality. Spirituality is about what we do with that incurable desire, the madness that comes from the gods within us.
They (early church folks) would always try to understand that energy as coming from God and as ultimately directed back toward God. Hence, they surrounded religious and sexual energy, desire, with very high symbols. Where we use biological and psychological symbols, they used theological ones; for example, where we look at desire and speak of being horny or being obsessed, they spoke of “eternal longings” and “hunger for the bread of life.” Desire was always understood against an infinite horizon. In this type of framework, very high symbolic hedges, we can understand why St. Augustine would sum up his whole life in one line: “you have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
The premodern world understood that spirituality is about how we channel our desire and, for them, the path needed to channel it correctly was the path that directed that desire toward God, the path of genuflection (bowing to God). That path also often became the path of fear and the path of control through external taboos, prohibitions, and laws.
—From The Holy Longing: The Search For A Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser
(These are 2 selections from this book by R. Rolheiser. This is an amazing book i highly recommend it.)
? How might your desires be redirected during this Lenten season ?