10 Tips for the Struggle with Desire from Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

10 Tips for the Struggle with Desire from Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Inside us there’s a divine fire, a greatness, that gives us infinite depth, insatiable desires, and enough luminosity to bewilder every psychologist. The image and likeness of God inside us, as John of the Cross writes, renders our hearts, minds,  and souls “caverns” too deep to ever be filled in or fully understood.

What should we do in the face of our own bewildering complexity? Here are some counsels for the long haul:

Accept that this is a God-given gift inside you and, at the end of the day, it’s what is best inside you. It’s what separates you from plants and animals. Their nature is simple, but having an immortal, infinite soul makes for lots of complications as you struggle to live out your life within the finitude that besets you.

Recognize and respect the “demons and angels” that roam freely inside your heart and mind. But don’t massage your complexity either, by fancying yourself as the tormented artist or as the existentialist who’s heroically out of step with life.

It’s the luminosity you’ve split off. Slowly, with proper caution and support, begin to face the inner things that frighten you.

You’re incurably sexual, and for a godly reason. Never deny or denigrate the power of sexuality—even as you carry it with a proper chastity.

Whatever wounds that you don’t grieve will eventually snakebite you. Accept and mourn the fact that here, in this life, there is no completeness.

Your complexity continually lets you know that you’re built for more than this life. Never deaden this impulse inside you. Learn to recognize, through your frustrations and fantasies, the ways you often imprison it.

All miracles begin with falling in love. Hallow your spontaneous impulses and temptations by searching for that higher love and higher value toward which they’re pointing. Offering others your altruism and the gaze of admiration will feel so good and right that it will bring to fulfillment what you’re really yearning for.

By being in touch with your own complexity you will eventually learn that nothing is foreign to you and that what you see on the newscasts each day mirrors what’s inside you.

Your complexity will trip you up many times, and so you will need to forgive yourself many times. Live, knowing that God’s mercy is a well that’s never exhausted.

God is your builder, the architect who constructed you and who is responsible for your complexity. Trust that God understands. Trust that God is more anxious about you than you’re anxious about yourself. The God who knows all things also knows and appreciates why you struggle.

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