A Liturgy of Light

A Liturgy of Light

By John O'Donohue

When suffering comes, we feel panic and fear. Frightened, we want to hide. You want to climb up on to some high ledge to escape the dismemberment of this acidic tide. Yet the strange thing is: the more you resist, the longer it stays. The more intensely you endeavor to depart the ground of pain, the more firmly you remain fixed there. It is difficult to be gentle with yourself when you are suffering. 

Gentleness helps you to stop resisting the pain that is visiting you. When you stop resisting suffering, something else begins to happen. You begin slowly to allow your suffering to follow its own logic. The assumption here is that suffering does not visit you gratuitously. There is in suffering some hidden shadowed light. Destiny has a perspective on us and our pathway that we can never fully glimpse; it alone knows why suffering comes. Suffering has its own reasoning. 

It wants to teach us something. When you stop resisting its dark work, you are open to learning what it wants to show you. Often, we learn most deeply and receive profoundly from the black, lonely tide of pain. We often see in Nature how pruning strengthens. Fruit trees look so wounded after being pruned, yet the limitation of this cutting forces the tree to fill and flourish. Similarly with drills of potatoes when they are raised, earth is banked up around them and seems to smother them. Yet as the days go by the stalks grow stronger. 

Suffering can often become a time of pruning. Though it is sore and cuts into us, later we may become aware that this dark suffering was secretly a liturgy of light and growth. 

Excerpt from Eternal Echoes

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