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This ‘Triangle Talk’ is a way of speaking about the interiority and freedom of the human person. It’s something of a beginner’s guide to the interior life. It gives us a very easy-to-use ‘language’ for communication about very serious spiritual realities, and helps us have some distance from intensely personal issues.
It began as a way of demonstrating how to balance the pressures of life without violating the self, or others, and has expanded to become a road map to interior freedom.
I was asked to speak for the first Apostles of the Interior Life National Collaborators meeting – about beginning the ‘interior life’. I prayed about how one speaks to such a group (all people who are following the Sisters’ charism and, clearly, have already begun to explore the interior life). I felt I received the talk whole, like a poem sometimes comes to me all of a piece.
I thoroughly enjoyed helping those adults see through more childlike eyes. What has surprised me so much is the way this ‘language’ has continued to grow for me in conversations with other women, and with my kids.
One person who sees me for spiritual mentoring even taught it to her husband! It helped them so much that I now suggest it as a real, grown-up communications tool for married couples, parents-and-children, and others. The whole text of the original talk is available as a pdf on my Resources page, and you can look there for other applications of this ‘algebra of personhood’. One thing funny about my family is that my kids have now heard ‘Triangle-Circle’ so often it is a shorthand between us for some surprisingly huge concepts.
I’d love to hear how others are responding to this.
Differences between the original myth of Cupid and Psyche, and C.S. Lewis’ retelling of the myth in Till We Have Faces have the effect of revealing new dimensionality in the Christian understanding of both myth and of the human person. The pre-Christian myth, like the pre-Christian person, is veiled in a darkness that constitutes a reduction from an ideal – a flattening of the fullness of story, or of person.
Lewis retells the myth in the inescapable light of the Incarnation, and in doing so, illuminates and revivifies the notion of personhood, as expressed through its characters. It’s fascinating to note that Lewis wrote this book at about the same time as his autobiographical Surprised by Joy. Peter Schakel, author of Reason and Imagination in C.S. Lewis, believed these two books actually tell one story:
Orual’s account of her life, like Lewis’ account of his own in Surprised by Joy, is retrospective, subjective, and selective. It is striking, then, that suddenly he is able to complete successfully two stories he had long sought to tell but had been unable to: his own story and that of Cupid and Psyche. …Each is a story of consciousness, and of the achievement of wholeness through sacrificial death; and each is the story of Lewis himself.
Add to all that a discussion of the imagery of the veil in the life of a woman – her need for modesty, for beauty, for privacy, for mystery, and for self-revelation to God, and you have one of my favorite talks to give!
Here’s my take on The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.
The Problem – We must get kids from where they are, to where they need to be; from ‘uneducated’ to ‘educated’. Given the poverty of our own education, we feel asked to do the impossible: build a bridge as we cross it. No way!
But there’s a problem with the problem – Kids aren’t all ‘here,’ and you don’t know exactly where ‘there’ is, so you must bridge from everywhere to nowhere. No wonder you’re exhausted!
We’ve got to rediscover particularity, because the individual has been lost in generalities, norms, averages. St. Pope John Paul suggested that what is necessary in our world today is the “recapitulation of the inviolable mystery of the human person.”
What is the role of ‘recapitulation’ in the education of our children? How do we educate for ‘betweenness’? Why is wonder the foundation for philosophy, and how does poetry play a pivotal role in the development of our interior life?
In this talk, I address these and many other questions you may not have realized you should be asking!