The Divine and Religion

I’ve become mesmerized by the words, wisdom, and captivating brogue of the late John O’Donohue.  He died too young, but has left a lifetime’s worth of insight into life, humanity, beauty, the Divine, and the spiritual dimension we call soul so often ignored in our dizzyingly fast world.

Here’s a snippet from Wisdom from the Celtic World:

Everyone hungers and longs for the home that we call the Divine. And what’s really sad is that very often peoples’ ability to come into the Divine presence is most damaged by religion.

Religion has filled so many holy and lovely people with such a sense of fear and sense of guilt. And this fear and guild have often been used by religion to control people.

And you should never let any religious power or institution take away from you that intimacy and depth of belonging that you have to the Divine, because the Divine is your secret name.

An Act of Gracious Self-Forgetting

I received an email this morning from a dear friend who said he had been listening to today’s episode of “On Being,” with Krista Tippett.  In The Inner Landscape of Beauty, Tippett speaks with John O’Donohue, an Irish priest, poet, and philosopher whom she interviewed shortly before his unexpected and all-too-early death in 2008 at the young age of 52.  So moved was I by what I heard (moved even to tears, I’m not ashamed to say), that I immediately bought O’Donohue’s first book, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.

I look forward to spending mornings of the coming weeks the thoughts and beautiful words from this, the first of O’Donohue’s books.  Only a few pages in, I know this is the kind of book in which my underlining could get carried away, but here’s just a taste of what he says:

Love begins with paying attention to others, with an act of gracious self-forgetting.  This is the condition in which we grow.