Crossing the Bridge

By Jack Rigert

Opening the smaller story of your life to the transformational power of “Connection” which changes everything!

A friend of mine was describing his recent attempt to get off the medication he was taking for anxiety because of the unwanted side effects. But once off the meds he became so anxious that he was driving everyone near him crazy. His family voted to have him go back on a lower dose or find a substitute.

“I have a substitute for you,” I replied. “Go to Confession and receive the Eucharist.” Mark (not his real name) looked at me and said, “You’re serious, aren’t you? Do you really think that would help?”

“Yep,” I said, knowing that this cradle Catholic had stopped going to Church about thirty years ago.

Most of us are living like “Cut Flowers” disconnected from the source of life…and we spend our time anxiously worrying about how we are going to live and desperately trying to fill the infinite desires of our hearts with finite things.

As John Eldredge wrote, “Human beings are ravenous. A famished craving for life haunts every person. We crave fullness; it is our design. We were created for unceasing happiness, and joy, and life. But ever since we lost Eden, we have never known a day of total fullness. We are never filled in any lasting way. Human beings are like cut flowers—we appear to be well, but we are cut off from the Vine. And we are ravenous. Until we return to God and actually abide in him, until we experience God as our daily source of life, we are desperate creatures, lustful creatures. We look to a marriage (or the hope of marriage), a child, our work, some food or drink or adventure, the next dinner out, the new car—anything to touch the ache inside us. We are ravenous beings. That is why Jesus warned about consuming lust.”

Saint Augustine described it like this “Our hearts are restless Lord until they rest in you”.

Psalm 42 states “Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”

Psychiatrist and author Dr. Gerald May begins his book “Addiction and Grace” this way. “After twenty years of listening to the yearnings of people’s hearts, I am convinced that all human beings have an inborn desire for God. Whether we are consciously religious or not, this desire is our deepest longing and our most precious treasure.

Carl Jung the famous father of psychoanalysis said, “Among all of my patients in the second half of life, that is to say over thirty-five, there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers and not one of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”

Finally Dr. Karl Menninger, the dominant figure in American psychiatry for six decades, said that if he “could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 percent of them could walk out the next day.”

It seems that we should all have caught on to this cosmic story by now. Good versus evil, light versus darkness, love versus lust…and seek the better way that has been revealed to us. Yet somehow we miss the larger story and we get caught up in a much smaller one of our own making. The result is always the same, a broken anxious heart. But in the midst of our brokenness, and we are all broken in one way of another, along comes some very “Good News”! The Path to healing which leads to love and happiness can be found!

I call it: “Crossing the Bridge” – Opening the smaller story of your life to the transformational power of “Connection” – which changes everything!

The bottom line is that we were created for eternal life in God but original sin separated us from the tree of life. It is as though we stand at the bank of a deep fast moving river that we cannot cross knowing that eternal life is on the other side but our broken humanity cannot reach it. We need a Bridge over the Abyss.

In Saint Catherine of Siena’s “Dialogue” with God the Father, He describes His Son as this living Bridge:

“Wherefore I have told you that I have made a Bridge of My Word, of My only begotten Son, and this is the truth. I wish that you, My children, should know that the road was broken by the sin and disobedience of Adam, in such a way, that no one could arrive at Eternal Life.

This trust is that I have created man to My own image and similitude, in order that he might have Eternal Life, and might partake of Me, and taste My supreme and eternal sweetness and goodness. But, after sin had closed Heaved and bolted the doors of mercy, the soul of man produced thorns and prickly brambles, and My creature found in himself rebellion again himself.

And the flesh immediately began to war against the Spirit, and, losing the state of innocence, became a foul animal, and all created things rebelled against man, whereas they would have been obedient to him, has he remained in the state in which I had placed him. He, not remaining therein, transgressed My obedience, and merited eternal death in soul and body. And, as soon as he had sinned, a tempestuous flood arose, which ever buffets him with its waves, bringing him weariness and trouble from himself, the devil, and the world. Everyone was drowned in the flood, because no one, with his own justice alone, could arrive at Eternal Life.

It was, therefore, necessary to join human nature with the height of My nature, the Eternal Deity, so that it might be sufficient to satisfy for the whole human race, so that human nature should sustain the punishment, and that the Divine nature, united with the human, should make acceptable the sacrifice of My only Son, offered to Me to take death from you and to give you life.

So the height of the Divinity, humbled to the earth, and joined with your humanity, made the Bridge and reformed the road. Why was this done? In order than man might come to his true happiness with the angels. And observe, that it is not enough, in order that you should have life, My Son should have made you this Bridge, unless you walk thereon.”

In other words, humanity has been redeemed! BUT you have to accept it! This is what we mean by Salvation!

Jesus didn’t come for sin management. He came with real power to heal!

(Romans 8:11) “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit which dwells in you.”

This is the NOW… for eternal life is lived in the moment! In the eternal present! This very moment is eternity!! We begin to live a resurrected life now!

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire” – St. Catherine of Siena

Go to confession, receive the Eucharist, and begin a life of Prayer. This is God’s prescription for healing your anxious heart!

Call me in the morning, and let me know how it is going.

Bring the new “Crossing the Bridge” Mission to your Parish!