Between the Lost and the Desired – Holy Pain

sunset from the roof

In a poignantly beautiful comment from a reader this past week, I was introduced to the concept of Holy Pain.

Gregory the Great (ca 540–604) spoke about compunctio, the holy pain.The grief somebody feels when faced with that which is most beautiful is both a reminiscence and a fore-taste of the divine world. Originally compunctio was a medical term that described intense physical pain, but when Gregorius used the word he spoke about a spiritual pain. The bittersweet experience stems from human homelessness in an imperfect world, human consciousness of, and, at the same time, a desire for, perfection. This inner spiritual void becomes painfully real when faced with beauty.”

“There, between the lost and the desired, the holy tears are formed.”

Holy Pain – that pain we feel as we walk this life-journey, knowing that there is something far bigger and greater and our heart cries out in longing.

Holy Pain – when we know that this world is not as it should be.

Holy Pain – when our throats catch and we are lost in the wonder of worship, knowing this is only a foretaste of what will come.

Holy Pain – when we see a sunset over an ocean and its beauty pierces us.

Holy Pain – when we are “between the lost and the desired”, when the “holy tears are formed”

Today are you in Holy Pain? Does the hurt of the world gnaw you, even as you experience the glory of redemption? As we journey between the lost and the desired, experiencing the ache of Holy Pain, may we reach to God and in reaching be brought ever closer to the Holy One.