Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trust…In…The…Wonder

At the end of the last blog there was an effort made to encourage the slow reflective reading of the quote from Henri Nouwen. Why? Because within those words there is contained so much of what we seek, and yearn for. They convey to both you and me, who we are in the love of our Gracious, Prodigal and always surprising God. Pope Francis recently reminded us that our God Is a God Who surprises. Our God breaks into our lives, as scripture warns us, “at a time we least expect.” I think you will agree that our God not only comes when we least expect, but in disguises that blow us away. God is the God of uncertainty, not certainty. What we all must accept is that we cannot box God into a neat package. A package that we construct with our finite minds. A lot of pride there. The Indefinable we decide to define. There is a warning that comes to us from Africa, “To define something, is to KILL it” Have we not borne the brunt of pain brought about by the narrowing of the understanding of The Incomprehensible. When efforts are made, as our Pope is doing, to broaden the horizons, there is war. We see that played out every day now. The Pope is slowly guiding us to a newer and a more inclusive understanding of God’s love for all of His/Her creation. This means we have to change our old ideas, let them go so that a newer and a fuller understanding may be ours. The Rabbi Jesus had real difficulty with the rigorists of His day, just as Pope Francis has today. The only way we can be the church Pope Francis envisions, is for us to embrace his vision. This vision of a church of mercy, a church of welcome, and hospitality for all, begins within the human heart of each one of us. The same human heart that beats within the breast of The God-man, beats within you and me. Jesus did not have one model of heart, and us a lesser model, a more vulnerable one. If that were so then, The Incarnation was a waste of time. The Prophet Jesus did not allow Himself to be boxed in, and fit into the expectations of others. Just in the same way our God, The God of Jesus Christ, refuses to be boxed in. Therein, lies the challenge of the spiritual journey. “We journey to Him we do not know, by a path we do not know.”(St. John of The Cross.) Our journey is a journey into uncertainty, and into the certainty of God’s unconditioned, unlimited, and unrestricted love as our Good Shepherd.
That is why we need to connect ever and always with the fact that we are the beloved. Every day we are given 86,400 seconds to listen to The Voice that says to me “You are my beloved.” Fr. Nouwen goes on to say: “Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear the voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper. I have been doing a lot of digging lately and I know that I am beginning to see a little stream bubbling up through the dry sand. I have to keep digging because that little stream comes from a huge reservoir beneath the desert of my life. The word “digging” might not be the best word, since it suggests hard and painful work that finally leads me to the place where I can quench my thirst. Perhaps all we need to do is to remove the dry sand that covers the well. There may be quite a pile of sand in our lives, but The One who desires to quench our thirst will help to remove it. All we really need is a great desire to find the water and drink from it.”
There goes that word “desire” again. According to the spiritual writers, to have the desire is all we need.” We become what we desire. Remember what Thomas Merton wrote that if we have the desire to do what is right, and just, God’s will, we will be led on the right road, though we may know nothing about it at the time. As long as God knows we do not have to worry, just trust in His love for us, not our love for Him. But we, at least, I do not trust easily. Where there has been abuse, and betrayal in our life experience, trust is a hard commodity to come by. There has to be, and has been, a great refrain, “I believe Lord help my disbelief/unbelief” “out of the depths I cry to You O Lord, Lord hear my cry.” “O God come to my assistance. God, make haste to help me.” The response is not always immediate. The response will come. Many times the response just reinforces we have a God of surprises, and a weird sense of humor.
While I was on my Summer trip, I received calls from some friends wanting to hear my voice. They had heard that I had died, and wanted assurance that the news of my death was over exaggerated. It was one of those Ah! Ah! moments. I had time in the High Rockies to reflect on “what if it were true?” What has been left unsaid? (This did not matter as my voice was only a whisper). What are the things that must be said so the others do not have to go through without some warning, and a source of hope. One person has written “write like you are dying,” and what a challenge that is. We are all on the road to death, and the return to Eternal Love from which we all have sprung. That Source of our existence is so easily forgotten, and so our life is a hellish journey. We must, moment to moment, call to consciousness the following; In His love we are one, ever and always. There is no moment that we are not present to His creative love. It is Not as we love ourselves, or the world loves us that we are loved in the depth of our being. We are all held in His compassionate love. Compassionate Love has been incarnated, revealed to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. He came to “suffer with us.” To be compassion. Let us make compassionate living our great goal, the great defining desire of our lives. Then we will be led to the reality of the “law of graduality.” It is only gradually, we are led to discover the reality hidden and revealed within each step of each hike. There is revealed The God of surprises Who is to be discovered as we make our hike through the mountains and the valleys of life. We now appreciate in a new and different way the fresh water we drink from from the trickling streams, and hidden wells. The life giving properties of that water corresponds to the life giving water that springs up from within us. This fountain, Is The Fountain, the source of Eternal life. That has been my experience, and the experience of others with who I have accompanied. Make this law of graduality the lens through which you always look at life. God Is loving you. This I do not want you even to think, or question. His creative love is molding you, forming you, ever so slowly, darn it, but ever so gently. Ever so slowly and ever so gently the living presence of the Risen Christ is revealed, in you and through you, always for others. The historical Jesus did not become the Risen Christ without first having to endure what you are suffering right now. So???