For the past three years I’ve felt like my spiritual journey has been wandering in a state of purgatory. There has been a lot of “letting go” as well as being let go. Some of these things have been superficial and obvious, while others have been unexpected and painful. Deep emotions and “feelings” I’ve held onto as compasses have dissolved or evaporated. Inspired dreams and plans have vanished like mist as my family and I wandered through them and into ambiguous territory. It has created some powerfully challenging experiences.
As circumstances, ideas, hopes, dreams, and plans have come and gone, those “things” have revealed a great deal to me about myself. “Things” that I’ve held onto have proven to be unreliable and inconsistent, which becomes a problem for me wherever I have internally over-identified them with God. My family would step in a direction and believe it was the “right” thing, but then found ourselves lost. It’s been hard letting those “right” things go and holding onto faith in Someone more than things.
Concepts create idols of God, of whom only wonder can tell us anything.
—St. Gregory of Nyssa
On one hand, we are being freed from false ideas and beliefs, while on the other hand, it has felt like they are being ripped from us. I liked those false ideas and beliefs. That’s why I believed them! This has produced the purgative experience. It makes freedom look a lot less attractive, which helps me see where I am more religious than in Love.
Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your Name.
Your kingdom come...
– Jesus, Matthew 6.9/10
One thing I never spent much time thinking about with this prayer is how, praying “Your kingdom come,” insinuates and practically necessitates, “My kingdom go.” This is one of the most foundational values of Christianity, that I can see. We’ve watered it down to moralistic lists of do’s and don’t’s, but at its conception, it’s something more more meaningful and transformative.
“My kingdom go,” as it was modeled by Jesus, looks like the freedom to be publicly mocked, hated, and killed and it hold no influence over the ability and capacity to be in Love. That is the realist of freedoms. But getting there means letting go of anything and everything that holds me back; however good, pleasant, or righteous I might confuse it for being.
So, I ask myself now, What is the most loving way? Not, what is the most convenient, pleasurable, easiest, or beautiful way, but the most loving. My faith teaches me that the way of Love, while it may include crucifixion, leads to resurrection.
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
– Jesus, John 10.10