This writing is from one of my favorite authors. Joan Chittister is a Catholic nun who seems to grasp the bigger picture and isn’t afraid to share her truth with the world- her spirituality and writing are free from divisiveness and truly speak to all faiths and beliefs if you can really listen in. This came in my inbox last week and I hope it speaks to you as it did to me…
Lent—a time to strip away the false self
Somewhere along the way, we each get stripped of what we have spent our lives acquiring, of things closest to our hearts, of possessions or positions that made us who we thought we were. Then, thrown back upon ourselves, we are left to discover who we have really become. It is a frightening moment, often an embarrassing one, always a difficult one. So much of life is spent attending to the show and glitter, the masks and trappings, the externals of our personal identities that we fail to notice what is lacking inside of us. The problem is, of course, that we don’t miss what we don’t have within us until we need it most. Then the lack of dignity, of self-containment, of simple joy, of deep sincerity, of spiritual serenity, of holy trust, of genuine humility becomes glaringly apparent. It’s only at the point when we realize who we are not that we are ready to become someone worthwhile.
When we have finally stopped the posturing and personal exaggerations of life, the freedom that comes with being honest with the self and open with others leaves us perfectly free. Now, nothing can possibly shame us again. No one can say anything about us that we have not already admitted, if not to others, certainly to the self. Now we cannot be slighted because we know who we are. We cannot be embarrassed by the past because we have already embraced and confronted it. We cannot be left to the vultures of life because there is no way left to pick us to the bone that we have not already reckoned with ourselves. It is a moment of great liberation. It is a moment of new life.
Being willing to be the self and nothing more is the beginning of truth, the essence of humility, the coming of peace.