Keys to Success: Wounds, Weaknesses, Vulnerabilities?
I often wonder how we most effectively grow spiritually or more specifically how do we help people to grow spiritually. Last year you might remember my whole series on the “spiritual growth” and “spiritual fitness.” I showed these growth charts using the “S curve” and that the Church has traditionally relied on the sacraments to “jump the S curve” to reach further growth. While that has worked historically, we need to understand today’s journey of life more to effectively minister to people. That is why I came up with the “metanoia paths” which involve “points of inflection.” I named four categories for this to occur: 1) Prayer/retreats, 2) Mission trips, 3) Pilgrimages, 4) Traumas.
While none of these of events per se guarantee an upward movement in spiritual growth, they present the greatest opportunity for it. As I reflect deeper on why that is the case, I realize that these point of inflections have one thing in common. They allow us to come in touch with our wounds, our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities.
Our society is consumed with “success” at every level, personal and professional. However, the reality is that “success” within the soul is more related to our “wounds,” “weaknesses,” and “vulnerabilities.” These inflection points give us an opportunity to go deeper with our weaknesses and wounds. So we need to ask, can we not grow as much from our successes as we can from our failures?
Renowned Polish psychologist, Casmir Dabrowski would respond, “Theoretically, yes; we can grow through our successes, just as easily as we can through our failures. But I can say this, through more than 40 years of psychiatric practice I have rarely seen it. Almost always deep growth takes place through the opposite—our death, our losses, our dark nights of the soul.”
Fr. Ron Rolheiser concludes that “our inferiorities build up our souls. Our inferiorities and humiliations are not things to be cured from, things to be solved, things to be ignored, things to be buried as private and past shames. They are to be listened to. They are entries into the depth of our souls.”
So our role in life as disciples is to face our wounds and go deeper into our hearts where Christ alone will heal us. If we do this well, then others will come to see the growth and be encouraged to do likewise in their own lives. Not only will they jump the S-curve but we will truly grow in love of God. Listen to our weakness for there lies our success!
– Fr. Brendan McGuire