“You cannot be angry and a mystic.” The two are opposites. Anger is about dualism and control. Mystery is about letting go. Anger is a demon that sees itself as god. Mystery is about seeing God in everything. Anger is a dualistic mindset, where ‘I am right and the other is wrong’. Mysticism is about accepting and holding together the paradoxes of life.
Power, security, and affection aren’t in themselves evil, but our longings for these can have devastating consequences on our lives, our health and with the relationships around us.
When wounded, I tend to wound. In the moments of emotion, broken expectations and loss, I feel just and right unleashing the beast within. The wolf with red eyes glowing leaves casualties and wounded bystanders in the attacks.
On my last trip to Nicaragua, we stayed once again at Tepeyac, the Catholic Church and retreat center in San Rafael del Norte. The town had been newly painted with murals throughout the city that lead to Tepeyac. The murals tell the story of San Rafael del Norte and the beloved, almost canonized saint, Padre Odorico. The story of this amazing priest and his affects on the Nicaraguan people and his benevolence towards the communities in the civil war torn areas of northern Nicaragua is like that of St. Francis of Assisi.
One of the new murals painted at the entrance of Tepeyac depicts Padre Odorico in two different stages of life. The first picture seems to depict the priest taming the red-eyed wolf. I looked at this painting every day for 6 days contemplating this. Is the wolf being tamed? What does the wolf want to attack? Is the wolf a part of him? Is the wolf a friend or foe? I do not know the answer to this question, but one thing that I do know is that I have my own wolf, which likes to take control of my life.
To be a mystic, to accept the paradoxes of life, to let go of my desire to be vindicated and right, is the only path towards peace. This is the model and character of a benevolent God revealed in Christ Jesus.
I long to be like Jesus, to forgive and let go, to heal and give myself away, but the wolf is real and is not easily tamed or even killed. I hope to be like Jesus, and I long for the peace depicted here in the later stages of Padre Odorico’s life.
(The two photos are of the same mural, two different sections of one wall.)