Friday, March 4, 2011

About not resisting our own true nature

Artist: Alexander Francis Lydon

My experience has been that many people who come to talk to me about their spiritual lives are actually trying to resist their own natures - trying to be who and what they aren't. And so the following really resonates with me:

A fish cannot drown in water, a bird does not fall in air. In the fire of creation, gold does not vanish: the fire brightens. Each creature God made must live in its own true nature; how could I resist my nature, that lives for oneness with God?

-- St. Mechthild of Magdeburg


  1. Of course folks can debate what is the ‘true nature’ of any sentient being. But, unless we're going to go in for dualism God must be, as scripture says, "the God of good and evil." So, even if we grant that one's "true being" comes from God, saying, “Each creature must live in its own true nature,” leaves us with a problem. I don’t disagree that these words of St. Mechthild are probably helpful for many who do spiritual meditation, if that is, we are speaking about people who have learned to use meditation to get outside of themselves and to see a glimpse of divine goodness Unfortunately there are many for whom even ‘spiritual meditation’ ends up only confirming their confidence in their own self-assessment and self-importance. But, though thankfully they seem to be in the minority, there are still way more than enough “human beings” who are sociopathic, narcissistic, sadistic and/or just plain evil.

  2. As much as I hate to say it, I believe that not all of those who are “evil” are as they are because they suffered abuse as children. There seem to be some for whom “evil” is their ‘true nature’ from birth. But, even if that last statement is not true, and even though I don’t believe in ‘the fall’ from grace, I do believe that all who are born without significant mental handicaps have within them a seed of evil that, may flourish. Yet, even given the above caution, I still believe there is something in the words of St. Mechthild that can bring hope to the hearts of those who – at least in some degree - seek “what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely.” Philippians 4:8

  3. I love this Ellie. We spend so much time and energy trying to be someone else when who we are is God's gift to us. I love the quote..something to reflect on.

  4. Wonderful and a meaty quote for reflection


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