Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

We have to give ourselves to something



It is easy to forget that our lives are important and your choices
and the path we choose invested with deep meaning.

One thing I find intriguing is the way people deal with life. By people, I am putting myself in that group. We all know that life is a tough journey, no matter who you are, or how rich or poor you are, or how intelligent you are. Rich people suffer as well as poor. You can’t get away from it. We also as a species seem to have a knack in creating cultures that have an inbuilt self-destructive switch. It should not come as a surprise, since we create our cities (a large snapshot of our inner lives), wherein each of us gives our little drop into that often undulating ocean that we call humanity. We then create out of that inner energy and make it manifest around us. Hence our ‘Will to Power’ and the desire to make an impact on the world can leave a long, painful, and often bloody trail. It is amazing how far people will go to serve that desire, that god. We have to give ourselves over to something, some god or another. There are those who sacrifice everything for their careers for instance. Their families, their health, their self-respect is all sacrificed for success in the business or political world. I guess addictions are one of those god’s, demanding everything, then after sucking its devotees dry, will throw what is left in some gutter somewhere to die. There are many ways that we can bleed our souls to death. Funny thing, we often do it because we are running from something else. Perhaps it is our essential emptiness that no matter how much we feed it still remains just dry sand.

What can actually help us is often placed as something unimportant, a hobby of sorts. If anyone actually takes this ‘hobby’ seriously, like people do their service to their ‘god’s’ they are called fanatics, even if they are sane and balanced individuals. I am of course talking about faith in ‘God’. The source of life and that which keeps us in existence, for creation is not something that happened in the far past, but is ongoing. We really have nothing of our own, and what we think we have will be taken away from us as our lives progress, until even that will be let go of.

I guess at the heart of life there is ‘paradox’. To let go of our ‘god’s’ and serve ‘God’, is the only way to true life, for if we do not have the life of God in our hearts, there is only our essential inner emptiness that we have, which in the end will swallow us whole. Or the fragments that are left over….we either become ever more fully human and loving or we sink into a state of progressive degeneration.

Perhaps that is what the ‘life review’ in the NDE is all about. Where all of our self-delusions are shown to us and taken away, and we finally see the truth about ourselves, both the good and loving and that which is selfish and even freely chosen evil. What we truly become is the fruit of our free choices. Perhaps some will not accept the truth about themselves and will not accept the healing that comes with mercy, and are simply left to themselves…..in nothingness….their empty center without their seeking to connect with God.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery


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