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Suffering & Joy Coexisting - FR Richard Rohr




The following excerpt is from FR Richard Rohr, Falling Upward.


There is still suffering in the second half of life—in fact maybe even more. But there is now a changed capacity to hold it creatively and with less anxiety.


It is what John of the Cross called ‘‘luminous darkness,’’ and it explains the simultaneous existence of deep suffering and intense joy in the saints and mystics—something that is almost impossible for most of us to imagine.

Eastern Orthodoxy believed that if something was authentic religious art, it would always have a bright sadness to it. I think I am saying the same of an authentic life.


In the second half of life, one has less and less need or interest in eliminating the negative or fearful, making again those old rash judgments, holding on to old hurts, or feeling any need to punish other people. Our superiority complexes have gradually departed in all directions.


We learn to positively ignore and withdraw our energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly.


We fight things only when we are directly called and equipped to do so.

Daily life now requires prayer and discernment more than knee-jerk responses toward either end of the political and cultural spectrum. We have a spectrum of responses now, and they are not all predictable.


In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition.

 

 

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