What We Feel Is Not Who We Are – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly.  Sometimes we experience great mood swings: from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos.  A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings.  Mostly we have little control over these changes.  It seems that they happen to us rather than being created by us.

Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life.  Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us.  As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are.  We are and remain, whatever our moods, God’s beloved children.

For further reflection…

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61: 1, 2

**

Saint of the Day

St. Bridget

Lived: (1303?-1373) | Feast Day: Thursday, July 23, 2015

From age seven on, Bridget had visions of Christ crucified. Her visions formed the basis for her activity—always with the emphasis on charity rather than spiritual favors.She lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Mother of eight children (the second eldest was St. Catherine of Sweden), she lived the strict life of a penitent after her husband’s death.

Bridget constantly strove to exert her good influence over Magnus; while never fully reforming, he did give her land and buildings to found a monastery for men and women. This group eventually expanded into an Order known as the Bridgetines (still in existence).

In 1350, a year of jubilee, Bridget braved a plague-stricken Europe to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Although she never returned to Sweden, her years in Rome were far from happy, being hounded by debts and by opposition to her work against Church abuses.

A final pilgrimage to the Holy Land, marred by shipwreck and the death of her son, Charles, eventually led to her death in 1373. In 1999, she, Saints Catherine of Siena (April 29) and Teresa Benedicts of the Cross (Edith Stein, August 9) were named co-patronesses of Europe.

Comment:
Bridget’s visions, rather than isolating her from the affairs of the world, involved her in many contemporary issues, whether they be royal policy or the years that the legitimate Bishop of Rome lived in Avignon, France. She saw no contradiction between mystical experience and secular activity, and her life is a testimony to the possibility of a holy life in the marketplace.
Quote:
Despite the hardships of life and wayward children (not all became saints), Margery Kempe of Lynn says Bridget was “kind and meek to every creature” and “she had a laughing face.”
Advertisements