Healing Line

Healing Line

You Do Not Belong to the World

by Caryll Houselander
Mar/Apr 2006

Caryll Houselander is one of my favorite spiritual writers. She was an ordinary English layperson who lived during World War II days, and was granted very deep insights into the world of the Spirit. She writes simply and very directly. I think you will like this selection taken from Magnificat, April 2005, p. 404–5.

— Francis


To put aside suddenly every motive except this single one, the forming of Christ in our life, is not so easy for ordinary people who are to remain ordinary.

The surrender we shall make will ask two hard things of us straight away.

<The first of these hard things is that through being wed to the Spirit, we shall receive the gift of understanding.>

In the world in which we live today, the great understanding given by the Spirit of Wisdom must involve us in a lot of suffering. We shall be obliged to see the wound that sin has inflicted on the people of the world. We shall have X–ray minds; we shall see through the bandages people have laid over the wounds that sin has dealt them; we shall see the Christ in others, and that vision will impose an obligation on us for as long as we live, the obligation of love; when we fail in it, we shall not be able to escape in excuses and distractions as we have done in the past; the failure will afflict us bitterly and always.

We shall have, by virtue of this same gift of understanding, far truer values; and we shall be haunted by a nostalgia for divine things, by a homesickness for God which is not eased in this world even by the presence of God.

And in proportion to our understanding we are likely to be misunderstood; the world does not accept Christ’s values. The beatitudes are madness to the world. “Blessed are the poor, the mourners, the reviled, the persecuted, the calumniated; blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice.”

People who will not compromise with Christ’s values are uncomfortable neighbors for mediocrity; they are likely to be misunderstood; they are often hated.

— Caryll Houselander —


Mar/Apr 2006 Issue