Using feelings

I was in a constricted grey corridor, with regular doors off it. I tried a door, and found overwhelming light and colour, so much that I could not make sense of it, so stayed in the corridor- but as I remained, the corridor grew darker and more constricting.

I thought the vision was about my retreat from the world, and now see it as my retreat from myself. I will not feel my feelings, they are too overwhelming. So I am stuck in the corridor, more and more constricted.

I have suffered so much pain and loss and rejection that I live in it. All that thwarted desire, all the bewilderment and lack of understanding, and always the critical voices berating me for failure. I need to see the detail in that overwhelming colour and light of my feelings, and that means paying attention to them as I pay attention to an art work, sitting with it, seeing it, noticing it.

What do I want, now?
What is possible, now?
What might I do, now?
What do I feel about that?

So many doors closed!

Richard Rohr today posted that Christ is, for each of us, our deepest and best and most naked self, and how could I believe that? I want ridiculous things, do not want what I ought to want, and as the Anglicans put it there is no health in me. And I flail about uselessly, and then give up.

Rohr shares a painting by Tintoretto of the Crucifixion, where we see Christ tortured and distorted, bearing the pain of our sin, as my soul bears the pain of my denial of it.

And the Tintoretto crucifixion which I found first shows a different Christ, Christ as the light of the world, shining from the cross.

Around him there is the tumult of the World, and for a moment it pauses, as people see the light of Christ.

The way to my true self which may or may not have any value but is at least me is through the feelings I have suppressed or distorted. There comes a time to lay down my past, which I see as mistakes, wrongdoing, stupidity, failure, and see what is around me, now. What is possible, now. Not a lot, perhaps, but not nothing at all.

3 thoughts on “Using feelings

  1. I was trying, unsuccessfully, to check the reference for Aquinas’s remark that ‘Grace does not overcome Nature but perfects it’, when I came across this:- ‘Although our view of the most sublime things is limited and weak, it is a great pleasure to be able to catch a glimpse of them’. so keep posting!


    • Summa Theologiae, I, q. 1, a. 8, ad 2, this site says. Since therefore grace does not destroy nature but perfects it, natural reason should minister to faith as the natural bent of the will ministers to charity. Hence the Apostle says: ‘Bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Hence sacred doctrine makes use also of the authority of philosophers in those questions in which they were able to know the truth by natural reason, as Paul quotes a saying of Aratus: ‘As some also of your own poets said: For we are also His offspring’ (Acts 17:28).

      Now I see through a glass, darkly- the NRSV note says “Now I see in a mirror, in a riddle”. I see in poetry, but hope to see clearly in prose.


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