St. John of the Cross: The Loss and Discovery of Our Identity in God

What a pleasure to discover Mary Holste’s (relatively) new blog. One can see the influence of Fr Stephen Freeman in her ascetical reflections, but she has her own distinctive Orthodox voice. And it’s refreshing to see an Orthodox believer reflecting on some of the classics in the Western mystical tradition. I commend her blog to you.

A Wider Sunrise

Jesus Christ Crucifix

All of us use labels to define ourselves. The fun uncle. The nurturing mother. The devoted husband. The good friend. The athlete. The nurse. The risk-taker. The talker. The intellectual. The beauty. The person with a particular movie-preference profile on Netflix. But the problem with using external qualities to define ourselves is that, sooner or later, we are all at risk of losing our identity. The frailty of the human condition means that tragedy strikes at everyone at some point in their lives. Serious illness, the death of a loved one, injury or disability, loss of a job, or the natural changes that come with aging– these life events happen to everyone, and the pain they can bring is twofold. A grieving parent, for example, has to mourn the loss of her children as well as her sense of self. Who am I now if I devoted my life to…

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2 Responses to St. John of the Cross: The Loss and Discovery of Our Identity in God

  1. Rhonda says:

    Yes, Mat. Mary has a fine blog, just as her father, Fr. Stephen.


  2. Isabella says:

    At a point of sheer weariness there is almost pleasure(?) is the falling away.

    I wrote these words a few years ago in sheer anguish
    “falling out of time, space, thought,
    off the edge,
    A little here, a little there
    Ending up unnoticeable to anyone but myself that up is higher than it was yesterday…
    This could be a problem if it keeps up….Gravity being what it is and all.

    Why am I always landing on the edge of something increasing odds I will continue my decent ?
    THAT is every bit as disconcerting as the fact that falling is my current vocation”

    It didn’t stop and I am not sure it is finished; and I do see through everything as if it is nothing.
    I am struggling with a paradigm shift…the world wants to ‘medicate’ this and see it as ‘illness. But I have been clinically depressed and this is different…but having a hard time convincing others.

    Have you been here….do you have some of the same confusion?
    I know it is personal, but obviously it struck a chord or you would not have posted it.
    I have been a ‘shadow’ follower of yours for many years and somehow I think this speaks your “language’.
    Just wondering. Don’t feel you need to answer.


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