Trying to find absolute rights and wrongs is a trick
we play on ourselves to feel secure and comfortable
but it is far more daring to keep your heart open
and not make anyone the ‘enemy’
not even your shadow.
Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle says the soul
is a mansion of many rooms, but there is a room
in which we should always dwell – self-knowledge –
coming to consciousness of the dark side
of one’s personality is, according to Fr. Thomas Keating
the ‘sine qua non’ – the ‘essential condition’ for
Our shadow only becomes hostile
when ignored or misunderstood –
like any human being you have to get along with –
often you have to give in/resist/show love.
Holy men and women have unconsciously written whole books
claiming it was all dictated to them by Jesus/Mary/the Holy Spirit
but John of the Cross would be sceptical about this
and Fatima/Medjugorje/end-of-the-world predictions.
Kick at the darkness/the shadow not out of illusion
not out of triumphalism, but out of grace –
kick at the darkness because it is ubiquitous
but it is not sovereign – it will not have the final word.
God’s way of being just is to show mercy/unconditional love
to those who were loved conditionally
and therefore repressed the ‘unacceptable’ parts of themselves
and so developed a shadow.
God loves all of us, even our shadows
and this formed the basis for Karl Barth’s belief
that we can at least hope for
the salvation of all souls.
God is patient with us
not wanting anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).