“Sometimes, the very activity which one self has rejected as an impediment becomes for another the channel of spiritual perception. I have mentioned the Cure D’Ars, who, among other inhibitions, refused to allow himself to smell a rose. Yet St. Francis preached to the flowers and ordered a plot to be set aside for their cultivation when the convent garden was made, ‘in order that all who saw them might remember the Eternal Sweetness.’ So, too, we are told, of his spiritual daughter, St. Douceline, that ‘out of doors one day with her sisters, she heard a bird’s note. What a lovely song!’ she said:and the song drew her straight way to God. … ‘To look on trees, water, and flowers,’ says St. Teresa of her own beginnings of contemplation, ‘helped her to recollect the presence of God’.” ~Evelyn Underhill
Steps or Obstacles
Ms. Underhill makes a good point. We are not all the same. What functions as an obstacle for one may be a stepping stone to awakening for another. He difference is in how you react to the thing. While St. Francis and Sat. Teresa could enjoy the beauty and sweet scent of flowers without becoming attached, Cure D’Ars felt he could not. And he may have been correct. We don’t all get attached to the same things. I’m sure if St. Francis found himself getting too attached to the flowers in his garden, he would have rejected them as well.
The point is, with a few exceptions, we can’t assume that the same thing is always an obstacle to spiritual growth, while another is an aid. We know, for example, that crystals can aid in spiritual growth. But some people can become so obsessed with collecting them, and locating rare ones, that they become an attachment and a hindrance. Continue reading “Obstacles and Stepping Stones”