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Readings for Reflection: May 2016
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Suffering and Glory

Anthony de Mello, S.J., was an Indian Catholic priest, spiritual teacher, and writer. He became known for his unconventional approach to Christian theology, which drew from various mystical traditions of both East and West. This excerpt from his posthumous book The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello (1992) seems to address a common struggle many of us have being our own worst critic. I believe it touches on the notion that we can also recognize that of God inside of us.    ~ John Deikis


Think of some of the painful events in your life. For how many of them are you grateful today, because thanks to them you changed and grew? Here is a simple truth of life that most people never discover. Happy events make life delightful but they do not lead to self-discovery and growth and freedom. That privilege is reserved for the things and persons and situations that cause us pain.

Every painful event contains in itself a seed of growth and liberation. In the light of this truth, return to your life now and take a look at one or another of the events that you are not grateful for, and see if you can discover the potential for growth that they contain which you were unaware of and therefore failed to benefit from. Now think of some recent event that caused you pain, that produced negative feelings in you .

Now take this one step further. Look at everything that you think and feel and say and do that you do not like in yourself. Your negative emotions, your defects, your handicaps, your errors, your attachments and neuroses and hang-ups, and yes, even your sins. Can you see every one of them as a necessary part of your development, holding out a promise of growth and grace for you and others, that would never have been there except for this thing that you so disliked? . . .

If you can, your heart will be flooded with peace and gratitude and love and acceptance of every single thing. And you will have discovered what people everywhere are searching for and never find. Namely, the fountainhead of serenity and joy hides in every human heart.


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