Posted by: T. Boyd | January 31, 2014

Shattered Lantern and Mockingjay

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(Warning – Mockingjay Spoiler Alert)

I am currently reading The Shattered Lantern by Ronald Rolheiser. It offers “a spiritual antidote to our everyday agnosticism…The way back to a lively faith is not a question of finding the right answers, but living in a certain way” – a quote from the back cover.

Rolheiser convinced me that we truly live in an agnostic age, one in which we no longer see God permeating our existence; most of us no longer live as if we need Him to get through our daily lives. And then Rolheiser shows the way back out of the resulting emptiness and longing for wholeness.

He uses John of the Cross to give direction: we have to enter the dark night of the senses, the dark night of the spirit, and the dark night of death. Rohlheiser explains this description in a loving and convincing way that resonates with my soul’s longing for healing and completion, a longing for God Himself.

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 I was helped to picture what Rolheiser means when I recently read the third story of the trilogy of Hunger Games, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

At the end of the story, the heroine, Katniss, is found by Buttercup, the cat of her late younger sister, Prim, who was killed in battle. Katniss is in the long recovery from the sorrow and pain of being a leader in the battle against the tyranny of the government during which most of her team members were killed, and she herself almost destroyed.

Katniss has been moved to her childhood home to heal and recover. The cat, Buttercup has trekked many miles to return home and arrives weeks later. He is in bad shape – wounded, bedraggled, and starving. Katniss has always despised the cat, and likewise he has always shown hatred toward her.

But, strangely enough, through their shared  series of tragedies, they learn to comfort each other.  Katniss reflects,  “… hours later, when I come to my bed, he’s there in the moonlight. Crouched beside me, yellow eyes alert, guarding me from the night.” Katniss has finally begun to heal and to find purpose in the dark night of the soul that she has experienced.

And for me, that brought completion to the whole trilogy saga, and it seemed to parallel the hope, the faith, the love that permeates Rolheiser’s book, “The Shattered Lantern”.

For our lives, there is an end as well as a process, a goal that culminates in the opening of something “further upward and further in” (C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle) in our journey to truly enter the Kingdom of God.

May The Lord strengthen us to always keep our eyes on Him, on Jesus Himself, and be transformed into His image. Amen.


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