Friday, December 12, 2008

Pain and delight at the same time

This passage from Ministry and Imagination reminds me of my intense experience of loss while on retreat:

"What we are aware of as a fulfillment of our religious quest on the primary level is the ambiguous feeling of both fear and love. We find ourselves gazing into a mystery, which would seem to engage us as an overweening power and yet flood us with an unimaginable assurance of worth. Such experience is not of equal impact in all individuals. Laski described ecstasies of withdrawal and intensity; and perhaps one person is more aware of their smallness and alienation before the mystery, while another is rewarded with the gift of wholeness and unity. At the same time, I do know that reporters as different as St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and the contemporary American anthropologist, Carlos Castaneda, describe mystical or transcendental experiences in which there is an intense level of pain and delight at the same time."

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