I can no longer believe in any kind of external God who will shrink my tumour just because I bombard him with prayers, pilgrimages, sacrifices and repeated religious routines. But I believe more and more in the indwelling Holy Spirit who is the love-energy of whatever I’m called to endure, to suffer, to accept and to be transformed by. As you read these pages of personal meditation you will notice this recurring insight as I try to cope as best I can with my current situation. The key to so much of our dis-ease, our wisest religions insist, is that we want life to be other than the way it is, “Wisdom begins”, wrote Jean Vanier, “when we stop wanting to fight the reality of the present as if it should not exist, and start to accept it as it is”. As I’m swiftly learning to my cost, the secret of Christianity, too, is to learn how to live as one with the daily unfolding of what happens. No more, no less. Rather than asking for miracles from above, my prayer now must be about how to gladly accept what is happening in the here and now. This insight, in Buddhist teaching too, is on the Noble Truths about how to lessen our suffering.
As these reflections flow in and out of my consciousness, I can’t help wondering how these thoughts affect my current darkness and fear. The nearest I can get to some kind of peace is to continue surrendering whole-heartedly to that all-embracing Reality, that river of love, that God beyond God, that whole divine milieu that holds and caresses everything that lives, everything that grows, everything that keeps happening at every second of evolution: personal and universal.
Richard Rohr reminds us that this kind of total trust is achieved through a moment by moment choice and surrender. This reminder always gives me hope. Total trust takes time. Too often we think that the grace of sacramental vision, of the new way of seeing, of the desired intimacy with God, comes suddenly and then stays with us. In a sense that is true; all we have to do is to become aware of this sublime gift. But awareness takes time. God’s incarnate grace is, in a sense, bound by the laws, times and tempo of an evolving and developing Creation.
St Paul mentions the light of God’s eyes that we try to reflect each day until, after much practice, we begin to become the light itself. Ours is an Incarnation-inspired spirituality. It has its own timing. We awaken slowly from the sleep of our limited conditioning to know the transforming potential that is latent within us all. A huge problem is that this rude awakening usually comes with an All-Mighty and tragic shock. If this is true, does it make you desire to take your life really seriously before being forced to do so when the bad times come?
Dancing to my death with the love called cancer. The last masterpiece from the bestselling author Daniel O’Leary
This book was written when Fr Daniel O’Leary was dying. I bought the book because I had watched some of the Astonishing Secret which is a book and a video. Coming to Dancing to my death – I found it very heavy but the chapters are short and often quote other writers and has also stories in it. It is well worth reading and I am sure you can get the feeling from this 26th chapter that what I say is true. Carmen