haunted house

June 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

The examen invites its practitioner into the ‘sorrow place’ of the heart. Not an easy fun place, it is like a haunted house in the neighbourhood of all our hearts. Guilt, failure, shame, sorrow, and inadequacy bordering on helplessness inhabit this place and easily frighten us into avoidance tactics for detouring around this haunted, fearful section of our hearts. But precisely in the center of that apparently haunted house, and in that place alone, lies the precious transformative gift of peace, the peace that God’s forgiving love in Jesus offers to us all.

— George Aschenbrenner, S.J.

I’m not going to talk about the examen. What struck me about this is the image of the haunted house in every heart. Yes, I hate the haunted house and want to avoid it. Avoidance tactics included, in the past, keeping company with people who didn’t seem to have a haunted house. Now, I’ve realised everyone has a haunted house, and that some people hide it better than others. Instead, I try to keep doing something, even a lazy thing like sleeping to avoid having too much time to myself. But every now and then, the silence and emptiness creeps up on me, and is deafening to my ears. And with much struggling and tears, I just have to face and try to sort out the things in my haunted house.

What this passage gives me is that through it I’m starting to make sense of this silence, such that I know I cannot and shouldn’t avoid it. For perhaps it is in this silence that God calls.


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