Click on the image to read the Guardian’s article about the Great British Bake Off’s Kim Joy. Social anxiety/selective mutism have deepened her empathy in beautiful ways. I hope Baking Therapy takes off!
*** Tips on Tuesday *** Tips on Tuesday ***
- Don’t wait for an apology.
Forgiveness is not something we earn from God, nor is it something that others earn from us. God chose not to be bound by like for like rules of justice, but to forgive abundantly. We can break the cycles of resentment pain and violence by following God’s example: absorbing the pain, forgiving the one(s) who caused it.
- Accept forgiveness when it is offered.
If someone forgives you, they are now free of the chains connecting them to the painful time or act. When they broke the chains, they freed you too. Many of us hang onto our chains, remembering the hurt we have caused, refusing to be free. If it’s because we never asked forgiveness of the person who forgave us, work that out with God, don’t try to draw the other person back in.
- Repeat as necessary.
Our first commission of St Fillan was linked to the story of the repentant wolf that willingly bows down in obedience to the saint’s gentleness. It was a commission for which I am particularly grateful, because I had never prayed to St Fillan before having to think about the composition of that icon. Later on, while trying to find out more information about the Saint, we’ve discovered that he is a protector and healer of people suffering from mental illnesses.
There are ancient stories about a small loch next to his hermitage, the waters of which had healing powers through the saint’s prayers. People who suffered from many mental afflictions would travel to see the saint and to ask for his intercession. Once they immersed in the waters of the saint’s loch, they regained their health and spiritual strength. Some of them spent the night in the cold waters, waiting for God’s mercy to descend upon them.
Mental illness… Mental suffering… What exactly does that mean? How many of us, how many of the lovely, wonderful people I know who suffer from depression, loneliness and fear still thirst to this day for someone like St Fillan, whose love can heal them? There is something fearsome and beautiful about this Saint who made himself a vessel for the Holy Spirit, so that God’s presence in the temple of his holy body may soothe and heal the pain of his brothers.
Holiness does not come easy. We always forget that. Holiness only comes through self-denial and self-sacrifice to the point of death – be that physical death, or death by removing oneself from partaking into the world in order to open oneself to Christ. Only sacrifice bears the fruit of holiness, because only the one who has enough love as to give one’s life for the sake of one’s brother is perfect.
Saints are holy not because they are special, nor because they are loved more by God. Saints become holy because their hearts burn with love for the world – that holy fire kills them to the world, and turns them into temples of the Holy Spirit. The healing power of a Saint’s love has nothing to do with our romantic vision of holiness, and it has everything to do with their determination to self-sacrifice for the life and salvation of the world. Saints become Christ-like in their love and healing power because they become Christ-like in their willing self-sacrifice.
The whole world needs healing today. We all need someone to love us not because of who we are, but despite who we are. We need Saints like St Fillan to love us unreservedly and unconditionally – only such Christ-like love will drag us out of our profound sadness and loneliness. Through the prayers of St Fillan, may we all feel the healing power of Christ’s presence in our lives.