Recently, I was struck by this excerpt from Joan Chittister’s comments on the section of the Rule of Benedict that speaks about discipline within the community.
“The ancients tell the story of the distressed person who came to the Holy One for help. ‘Do you really want a cure?’ the Holy One asked. ‘If I did not, would I bother to come to you?’ the disciple answered. ‘Oh, yes,’ the master said. ‘Most people do.’ And the disciple said, incredulously, ‘But what for then?’ And the Holy One answered, “Well, not for a cure. That’s painful. They come for relief.” (Chittister, Joan. Wisdom Distilled from the Daily. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co., 1992, p. 128.)
Ouch. When I bring my pain, my brokenness, my wounds, or my affliction before God, am I seeking a cure, or just relief? Honestly? I’m mostly seeking relief. Who wants a cure that might hurt even more? A true cure often hurts before it brings relief. A physical cure might involve an aching therapy. I’d rather take two aspirin and talk to God in the morning!
And what about the cure of soul that I so deeply need? Father, may You grant me courage to walk through whatever inner therapy You wish to work in me, that I might be restored, renewed and made whole. I want more than just a pain free life. I want life abundant.