The dragon – a mythological creature of chaos and destruction
swirls all around us – but the Lord of All Creation is there too
dancing in the dragon’s jaws.
We want to rise above cruel nature – jaw-red/claw-red –
to find a Universal Compassion we name ‘God’
but Ego restrains both our lower and higher nature –
the Id and Superego Sigmund Freud tried to integrate.
Integrating soul and body, John Macquarrie,
a Scottish philosopher/Anglican theologian/priest
developed an anthropology of finite freedom:
we are free but not totally free –
therefore, humans are a perpetual problem to themselves –
our finitude: circumstances/genetic makeup/
socioeconomic status/past decisions/sinful tendencies
restrain our grandiose visions.
New hope about human nature came from
the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)
when it declared a universal call to holiness –
a holiness no longer out of reach of ordinary humans –
all are called to be holy – even the simplest peasant
can be as holy as great saints like Anthony of Egypt.
More hope came from the renewal of ancient pilgrimages
like the Camino de Santiago – average citizens making
the hero-saint’s journey of separation/initiation/return:
on the Camino across northern Spain
you follow the Way of St. James – the Camino de San Tiago –
you are separated from your ordinary life
supernatural forces are at play and recounted
around campfires lit by pilgrims/peregrinos
and a decisive victory is won if, after 800 kilometres, you reach
the Cathedral of Santiago with its swinging botafumero
a giant censor fuming incense swung to the rafters by six men.
Then you return to your former life
with boons – new life insights – to offer others.
The greatest hope always comes from our Ever-Forgiving God:
“These people do not trust me even though
I want nothing but their sanctification – their holiness –
and I bear with them in great patience
because I loved them without them ever loving me.”
– God speaking to Catherine of Sienna