Paschal death

By Dave Henning / August 3, 2013

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” -John 12: 24 (RSV)

In Chapter 7 of The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford cites author Ronald Rollheiser, who devotes a chapter in his book The Holy Longing to the “paschal mystery”.  There he distinguishes between terminal death, which “ends life and possibility”, and paschal death, which is just as real as terminal death, but opens us to “deeper and richer forms of life.”

Mr. Rollheiser goes on to emphasize that the most significant part of the paschal cycle (the time between Good Friday and Pentecost) is the 40 days when the disciples were able to grieve the old and prepare to receive the new following Jesus’ ascension.  In our lives too, the devastation of our ministry or career loss is a crucial time not to be passed over or rushed through.  Mr. Rollheiser lists 5 steps in this process:

1.  Name your deaths.

2.  Claim your births.

3.  Grieve what you have lost and adjust to the new reality.

4.  Do not cling to the old, let is ascend and give you its blessing.

5.  Accept the spirit of the life that you are in fact living.

As we lift our arms to let go and open our hearts to what might come next, darkness is transformed into light and burden into blessing.

Today’s question: How can you apply Mr. Rollheiser’s 5 steps to your ministry or career loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Trying to catch the sun”

About the author

Dave Henning

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