What Was On The Left….

As Fr. John and I began to work together, I would meet with him in his office inside the monastic enclosure. Not many people were privileged to go inside the enclosure, so I felt rather proud of myself to walk through the door that had a sign on it that said, “Monastic Enclosure. Monks Only.”

I still did not trust Fr. John in those days, despite his obvious knowledge and skills as a spiritual director and psycho-analyst. Just because I had left Zen and Dr. Kim in Canmore, it would be a long time before I could take leave of my “Catholicism is just thinking and singing” attitude. There was so much I had to learn about contemplation, Christian mysticism, and the ways that God relates to us – and to me.

Fr. John spent a lot of time explaining to me how he worked with people and how psycho-analysis related to Catholic spiritual growth. One thing he told me that I will never forget was about the need for conversion.

“Conversion,” he said, “is the spiritual process of going back to where we come from. It comes from the Latin, ‘convers’, which means literally to ‘turn around.’ And where we come from is God. Conversion means to turn around and walk back along the path we have taken. In psycho-analysis, it is the process of going back in our lives and looking at what has taken place and how it affected us then, and how it is affecting us in the present.

But the interesting thing is that we see things from a different perspective as adults. And so, what was on the left is now on the right, and what was on the right is now on the left.”

Dr. Kim talked about going back in meditation to our past lives, going back to the universe, finding the source, living in the Tao. I felt comforted by Fr. John’s explanation of conversion as returning to God. The feeling of consolation meant that somewhere deep in my heart, deep in my unconscious mind, I had a knowledge, a memory, or an innate knowing of God, of love, of the Kingdom of heaven.

My orientation now was turning toward something that I already knew inside myself, if only as a slight feeling of recognition and of comfort. I had recognized it in the reading of Thomas Merton and his ‘Seven Storey Mountain,’ though the source of such recognition I did not understand. But ‘something’ was pulling at me, calling to me, and enticing me to look deeper into myself and my understanding of Catholicism.

Categories Blog Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Posted on January 10, 2018

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1 Comment

  1. by Catherine Spada

    On January 10, 2018

    Patrick,

    As your story unfolds it is very inviting. It is beautiful to witness the journey and I pray that many seeking may be comforted by your vulnerability in sharing with us. Keep writing my friend! Give us more! Looking forward to hearing of Christ’s victory!

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