Longing – 9 quotes from Phileena Heuertz’s book – Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

by Mark Votava

51T7TEZCf2L1. A necessary movement

“Longing is a necessary movement in the progression of the spiritual journey.”

2. Longing propels us forward

“What consumes you? What have you longed for with the intensity of homesickness? Longing signifies a desire for more. It stands in stark contrast to the complacent life. Complacency is a stalemate to the journey. Longing propels us forward. It’s difficult to sit in the ache of longing, so sometimes we avoid it. But when we embrace that gut-level discontent, we are moving and growing…”

3. Being true to the inner Voice

“The beautiful thing about being true to the inner Voice directing our path is the provision miraculously given along the way. When we set out to live our life with purpose, the journey can get lonely and difficult. We often face hardships and doubts that threaten to take us off course. It is only the veracity of the inner Voice and God’s provision along the way that sustain us in the midst of the harshest trials.”

4. Following our dreams is not easy

“During seasons of longing, sometimes miracles occur… Following our dreams is not easy. The longing intensifies the longer we preserve in the journey, and all kinds of obstacles threaten to deviate us off course. God’s provision along the way reassures us that we’re on the right path and encourages us to keep going.”

5. In, with and through community

“…there are times when we feel we can’t go on. We grow weary, we are injured along the way, our hope wavers. At times we are desperate for miracles of providence to keep us going… In, with and through community the dream for a better world is realized.”

6. We participate in a sacramental lingering or vigil

“But the dream takes time. All at once we long for and move toward the realization of our dreams. At times, it may feel like we’re getting nowhere, but the longing is moving us. In this way, we participate in a sacramental lingering or vigil.”

7. Longing is waiting

“Longing is about waiting. Longing is waiting…”

8. Accepting our brokenness

“Longing is essential to brokenness. Brokenness is the realization that our false self is dominating, which causes us to be alienated from… one another. Through brokenness we recognize our wounded condition and admit that we cannot heal ourselves. Transformation is possible when we accept our brokenness and long for that which only God can do for us. A circular and interdependent relationship develops between longing and brokenness.”

9. Freedom frightens us

“It seems that personal and systemic liberation is the common, prominent cry of humanity. Whether it is longing to be free to live into our true self or yearning to be free from systematic oppression like inequality or slavery, the gospel of Christ is about freedom. But for some reason freedom frightens us, and so two thousand years later we are still subjugating ourselves or expecting others to submit to a posture or system of captivity rather than liberation.”

What are some of the longings within you?


My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist