January 31, 2012

Per Ardentissimum Amorem Crucifixi

I'm always fascinated by the way words and phrases swirl about and reiterate and recombine not only in the mind but also in community. One brother articulates something, and the words or phrase can enter the general discourse of the community. Sometimes this can be constructive, giving the group a common critical vocabulary. Other times it can be destructive, as when we reduce each other to labels and explanations.

Anyway, that's not my point today. I was just thinking about how, according to this sort of phenomenon, a title from a few posts ago perhaps came to me from a song without my being aware of it. The song is "The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane" by Jeffrey Lewis:

The seventh rule (I hope you understand)
Is not to look to deep into your soul
Or you might find a hideous, hopeless hole
Of hatred, hunger, infinite, idiot
Mindless, meaningless, nothingness, nothingness,
Nothingness, nothingness, nothingness, nothingness
Nothingness, nothingness, nothingness, nothingness
And that's what I did

And every aspect of life that I selected
Was instantly and brutally dissected
I saw the horrible emptiness within
The reasons behind everything
And it was at that moment that I went insane.

That's the trouble with the ersatz spiritual experiences one might have through drugs, or with the endless journey of personal archaeology to which we are invited by the therapeutic culture: You arrive at the searing experience of your interior poverty, but with no good news on the other side.

The spiritual life, that is, a life lived in and according to the invitations of the Holy Spirit, reveals the saving discovering that our horrible interior poverty is not a cause for insanity or even sadness, but something to be embraced because it is exactly where God wills and delights to meet us in the burning love of Christ crucified.

The self-emptying of God who is Jesus Christ is the healing of our horrible emptiness within, the poverty of God in Christ condemned and crucified is the redemption of the poverty of our hearts.

Via autem non est nisi per ardentissimum amorem Crucifixi.

"There is no way but through the burning love of the Crucified." (St. Bonaventure's Itinerarium, prologue)


Anonymous said...

Been there, and yes, it is possible, even probable, that if you go down that route, you will come to that place of bitter emptiness. That place of sadness and loneliness, where we often selfishly find comfort, suddenly becomes sinister.

It's definitely not for the weak of heart, and especially not for the weak of mind.

Like me.

I went down that road twice in the span of a week. The first, by accident, the second, to prove to myself that I wasnt crazy.


Greg said...

Brilliant piece. Would love to see this reproduced in a number of Franciscan publications. It deserves broad coverage.

As I visited your blog I was working on a presentation of The Face of a Franciscan, a phrase that has moved around as you note... starting with Friar Murray Bodo who was greeted with the phrase spoken by Karl Menninger when he met Bodo.

I am taking the phrase and expanding it in conjunction with the discipline of Face Work, which has to do with Saving Face, Protecting Face, Restoring Face in the mediation setting.

With the Face of a Franciscan we have a new level in which one Gives Divine Face, seeing the divine in the other. I am convinced it is a path to an effective anti-bullying program.