Friday, October 30, 2009

The Refuge...

I live on my own. I travel on my own. I pretty much hike on my own. This affords me a great opportunity to think and to reflect. You may say “that is good, is it not”?Well I have learned over the years that "every blessing is a curse and every curse is a blessing”. [I never heard that one in school.] Being on one’s own is both a blessing and a challenge. This can be further exacerbated, when you add in, getting old. As you get older you find yourself reflecting more and more on what has happened on your life’s journey. As you look back you get caught up in appreciation, thanksgiving and of course guilt and regret. Because of God's grace you are able to allow an attitude of gratitude to develop. You develop an attitude of gratitude for what has been given over the years. In time, surprise, surprise, you become grateful for what has been lost and taken away. The feelings of guilt and regret lead to a deeper understanding of God's unconditioned love. This unconditioned love enables one to grow in reconciliation with who we really are, not who we would like to be, or who we are expected to be. All of this is one great process that cannot be hurried. God sure moves slowly but who can question the results. My mother taught me a long time ago “the mills of God grind very slow, but they grind very true”.
This process also leads one to slowly, accept and in time appreciate, one powerlessness. The truth of what Fr. Rohr says about “the powerlessness of power and the power of powerlessness” becomes an every deepening reality. This leads to a greater freedom.
This ever-so-slow process of acceptance leads to a startling revelation, of always being this powerless all along and never really realized it or accepted it. You end up with the realization that nothing good has ever happened because of one’s efforts. It was always was, and will ever be, the result of Grace. What a kick in the head that is.

On closer inspection what St. Paul said is true in every case, “Of ourselves we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Him that strengthens us.”
In Psalm 18, we pray the words, “Who but God is the rock.”.
In Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the labor in vain who builds”.
In 2 Samuel 22:32, “for who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock save our God?”.

There are many, many other references to the wonderful connection between what physical rock reveals to us, and the reality of who our God, the living God, really is. In reflecting on the episode of the rock, I remember I did not want to sit on the ground or on a log, I sat on the rock. Sitting on that rock gave me a great sense of security and stability. This was so important when I had exhausted my resources, and I needed a boost from outside of myself. We are also told in the scriptures that our God “is our refuge” and The source of our strength. Further, because of this encounter, I began to understand more clearly the meaning of the scripture that our God “is our refuge” and The source of our strength.

Reflecting on the miracle of grace is a never-ending process.

The dreamer’s journey continues….


  1. Powerlessness personified: walking into a reunion banquet with several hundred apparent strangers many of whom I knew fifty years ago in High School. Attempting to throw out all expectations while slowly recognizing some names and recalling vivid memories. Trying to stay in the here and now,here, fifty years hence. Wow, what an emotional juggernaut! Remembering those who had passed and enjoying humbling anecdotes from those present. And in a few hours the band is packing up; the room is empty. There's a list of addresses from some of those present. In the interim, fifty years, so much lost and so much gained to finally arrive at what one person termed "peace of mind and happiness." And all transpired under the Hand of a loving God who never left.

  2. Hi Father- I am in my early 20s, but I think I understand what you're saying about being grateful for what has been taken away when you look back retrospectively. There were things I wanted to happen when I was in my teen years that never happened and I was disappointed, however, I didn't know at the time that what I was hoping for was going bad for me. Now I'm in my 20s looking at the teenage years saying,"What was I thinking in wanting THAT to happen?!" It was me trying to be in control too much and not ever thinking about how this was not a good situation long term. Therefore, I think that it is through God's grace that we learn what's really important, even if we don't figure it out until later. Accepting God's grace is very hard to do because it means acknowledging that you're not in total control and it also means that you must admit that you alone don't always know what's best for you. This entry really made me think. Thank you.