Monday, January 07, 2019


For Epiphany, Times of Malta publishes Fr René Camilleri's "The Epiphany of the Lord: Inner guidance" that states:
"There is a common ground between believers, agnostics, atheists and those who consider themselves devotees of one specific religious tradition. In some way or other, they all want to find the key to an amplified inner life that has purpose and meaning."
Camilleri refers to Thomas Moore's writing when he stresses the need for a personal approach and not just a formal approach to find this key:
"There are mysteries that permeate our lives and unless we learn to pay attention to the inner guidance, unless we learn to authentically listen to our life, religion will fail to fill those gaps between the spiritual and the secular. Psychotherapist and author Thomas Moore, in his book A Religion of One’s Own, writes how 'we don’t seem to appreciate how deeply we are affected by changes in science, technology and culture.' 
The feast of the Epiphany we celebrate today points to the fact that formal religion by itself takes us nowhere and can just leave us lost in a fast-changing world. Personal religion is a requirement and it is different from formal religion. This is what the wise men coming from the East possessed, in contrast to the formal religion of the people of Jerusalem which failed to make them grasp what was really happening just round the corner."
Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Embrace the darkness as well as the light

Read Nancy De Guerre's First Person contribution to The Globe and Mail, "How I learned to live in November’s darkness", published 21 November 2018. Although we're through Christmas and New Year festivities, and have celebrated the winter solstice, De Guerre's approach may still help us through January and February. She describes the darkness of November while referring to Thomas Moore's work:
"Author Thomas Moore, in his book Dark Nights of the Soul, suggests that we can both fight and embrace our dark periods. We can experience the sadness while tapping into our creativity and imagination. Moore uses examples of famous dark-night embracers, most of whom I don’t mind being lumped with: Glenn Gould, Anne Sexton, Henry David Thoreau, Frida Kahlo and Oscar Wilde, among others. Brilliant artists who learned – not without great struggle – to heal and create, to learn from the experience of their darkness, to use it to connect them ultimately with their humanity and with others. 'A dark night of the soul can heal,' Moore writes. In essence, light emerges from the darkness."
De Guerre continues, "There is comfort in the dark, in knowing I can manage it, be with it, and come out somehow transformed. Being in the dark allows me to see the glimpses of light. Cocooning is the prerequisite for moving into a new phase of life – the shedding of a skin in order to be renewed. 'To some degree, new life always requires the termination of the old,' Moore writes."

Moore touches on related themes in his more recent book, The Soul of Christmas (2016) published by Franciscan Media.