Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 16, 2003
Awaken from your sorrowful sleep
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
None of us has been loved perfectly and none of us is loved perfectly.
However when we do that, we're settling for second best, selling ourselves short, not operating out of what's best in us, not because that's what we really want, but because, given our deep sadness, second best or even third best will do. We're trying to get by, to survive, to make do.
We're not trying to be saints.That'sa conscriptive, but not a healthy, humility.
Sadness can diminish hope and make you fall asleep. And any number of things can trigger this. Sometimes a tiny put-down will send us tumbling to the depth of sorrow - a slight from a friend, sarcasm from a colleague, being taken for granted, being ignored in a gathering.
Other times it will be a weightier thing: a betrayal by a loved one, disappointment in your own body, a professional failure, a physical illness, a lost job, the breaking down of a relationship, a rejection in love, the death of a loved one, or even the seemingly irrevocable presence of injustice and violence of our world. A slight or a holocaust, either can trigger the kind of sorrow that brings on the sleep the disciples fell into in Gethsemane.
Richard Rubenstein, in a book called, After Auschwitz, says: "When I say we live in the time of the death of God, I mean that the thread uniting God and man, heaven and earth, has been broken. We stand in a cold, silent, unfeeling cosmos, unaided by any purposeful power beyond our own resources. After Auschwitz, what else can a Jew say about God, except that he is dead?"
Deep sorrow can do that to you. After Gethsemane and Golgotha, Jesus' disciples also thought God was dead when they were only asleep.
What wakes us up? Peter woke up when he heard the cock crow, saw Jesus' face and realized that love stays even after you betray it. On learning that, he never fell asleep in that way again. Obviously there's a deep secret here.
Sometimes, though, it's an even further sorrow that wakes us. As John Shea says, "The cock will crow at the breaking of our own ego. There are lots of ways to wake up."
Mostly though, as the Gospels make plain, it's new light, a risen body, an empty tomb, a resurrection, a rainbow breaking in after the storm, an unexpected forgiveness, and a second chance that wake us.
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