An antidote to the idol of self: Answering the question ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What do I have to offer?’

“[Remember] you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19 


Grace-filled monasticism

‘The monastic tradition we have been looking at more or less took it for granted that it is only gradually that we make progress in our christian lives, and that we may never get any further than oscillating between falling and getting up again. As likely as not, our whole life will be one long battle and, when all else fails, we may end up simply saying to God, ‘Lord, save me, whether I like it or not; dust and ashes that I am, I love sin.’

Simon Tugwell O.P., ‘Ways of Imperfection’ p. 37

On brooding thoughts

‘Back home Sira Eiliv [the priest] admonished her because she brooded so much over her everyday sins – he said this was the temptation of pride. She should simply be diligent with her prayers and good deeds, and then she wouldn’t have time to dwell on such matters. “The Devil is no fool; he’ll realize that he will lose your soul in the end, and he won’t feel like tempting you as much.”‘

Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Wife

The true meaning of being ‘in the flow’

“The University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi wrote a book entitled ‘Flow’ in which he presented the findings of years of intensive research into what makes people happy. What he found is that people are content when they are “in the flow,” that is to say, when they have forgotten about themselves and have become lost in an activity, a person, a game. And they are discontented when, either through under stimulation or through fear they lose the flow and fall back onto themselves. None of this should be surprising to us. We have been arguing throughout this book that our souls become sick when they fall out of similitude with God and that they are doctored precisely when they begin to resemble the divine. What Augustine and Thomas say, quite simply, is that God is always in the flow, that he is a constant rhythm of self-forgetting love. And what they imply is that we find our joy inasmuch as we imitate the divine dance.”

Robert Barron, ‘And Now I see: A Theology of Transformation’ (p 186)