Foundational Ideas about Formation (Part III)

Idea #3: People long for more because God made them that way. Our passions matter. (To be without desire is to have a sick soul.)

The longing for transcendence that is part of every human being is God given. It is this drive for transcendence, not simply hubris, that powers human formation. The aspiration we experience is actually a deep inner desire to find union with God. When that longing for transcendence is completely cut off from God, it becomes the desire to be God. (An example of this is portrayed in the movie, Black Swan, 2010.)

Experiences of transcendence are not relegated solely to Christian experiences. All humans have transcendent experiences. Have you ever wondered why you have similar physical/emotional experiences during a rock concert and a worship service? Both experiences tap into transcendent longings and power.

Only humans have transcendent longings. Your dog might think it is a human, might act like a human and want to sit in the best chair. It might even have human like emotions. You may even be convinced your dog IS a human! But your dog never looks into the sky and dreams about flying through the air like a goose. Or closer to the ground, the poodle never looks at the greyhound loping down the street and thinks, “If it kills me, I am going to beat him in a race.” Nope. Only humans do that.

The human story is full of beautiful tales of transcendence. The prima ballerina, the skilled hockey player, the man who learns to ski after losing both legs – these are all humans whose spirit has pushed them to transcend their limits. the child born into poverty and abuse can be awakened by transcendent longings to achieve great things for the human race.

Understood in a spiritual framework, the longing for transcendence can be fueled by the graced formative interventions of the Holy Spirit, bringing a person into pneumatic (spirit) transcendence. The scriptures invite believers to expect such a gift.

Because of all this, one of the most important questions a spiritual director/pastor can ask is, ‘what are your deepest longings?’ Our deepest desires and longings reveal our inner life, our spirituality, our direction.

Think about it: What do you deeply long for? If you feel you have no longings, no passion, spend some time in silence before God asking Him to awaken your transcendent longings. Don’t be afraid of this process. It may takes some times of meditation and prayer before you can access your longings, especially if they have been packed away in a box deep in your emotional center.

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