Sometimes, when I am at a loss about God, I challenge Him. I say interriorly to Him, “go on, show yourself. I won’t interfere, just show yourself”. And then I just sit there, like a stone and wait for Him, for however long I can spare. I know it is wrong to put the Lord to the test, but by this stage, I am desperate. I believe that God knows my desperation, and is compassionate, and cannot resist my plea. He is my loving Father after all. After a long pause, which is His plea for my patience, He begins to make His presence known, but ever so quietly and unexpectedly.
And then I start to become aware of the world beyond me and within me that He is constantly creating. It starts at the front door of my senses. Used rightly, the five senses can teach us all about the life in Christ that we are all called to co-operate in.
Listen where there is seemingly nothing to be heard, look at anything other than what you lust after, sniff the morning air whether fair or foul, taste the food the works canteen gives you, for better or worse, feel the harsh and rough with the smooth and pleasant. (This is what is meant by developing Catholic tastes!). After sufficient practice and Divine help, of course, one can become adept at watching the world non-judgementally and noticing that God is watching you, and the world with you.
There is no thing outside of ourself that can defile us. Defilement comes only from within, from our sins. In a state of Grace, with God holding your hand, you can remain at peace even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Whenever YOU happen to get into the picture, STOP. The whole point of this exercise is to suspend, not disbelief, but belief in yourself, just for a few minutes, perhaps. This is an exercise in humility, the art of dying to one’s self
The Gospels describe a unique Man who lived amongst us, and saw our dysfunction and poorly estate. He tried to teach us with words how to remedy our situation by dying to self, and was frequently misunderstood, but He was inexorably driven to teach us by example also. He accepted condemnation, though innocent, and endured torture and death, though undeserving of these. Every one of his critics and executioners thought this troublemaker was finally disposed of.
Gladly, for all of us, they were wrong.
Christ lives and reigns in and over all time and space. He invites everyone to join Him in His Kingdom. Let us join Him there.
PS: I realise Mick Jagger is no saint, but that doesn’t mean Catholics cannot mention him in an article on the Faith. Fr Robert Barron happens to agree:
“Listen where there is seemingly nothing to be heard, look at anything other than what you lust after, sniff the morning air whether fair or foul, taste the food the works canteen gives you, for better or worse, feel the harsh and rough with the smooth and pleasant. (This is what is meant by developing Catholic tastes!)”
A fascinating exercise and a lesson in fully experiencing one’s surroundings. Yet I don’t know how to reconcile this with the next sentence….
“. After sufficient practice and Divine help, of course, one can become adept at watching the world non-judgementally and noticing that God is watching you, and the world with you.”
With the following comment on the surrender of ego, the Buddhists, some Hindus and Krishnamurti are on board… “Whenever YOU happen to get into the picture, STOP. The whole point of this exercise is to suspend, not disbelief, but belief in yourself, just for a few minutes, perhaps. This is an exercise in humility, the art of dying to one’s self”.
A thought provoking article.
I do not think God is only above and beyond, I believe He is beneath and behind also. When asked “where is your God?”, I answer He’s BEHIND YOU! (Pantomime disconcertment ensues).
You can find Him by standing-under, or as we say more colloquially, under-standing. This is the way that Christ showed us, by His descent to our level, and lower.
Thanks Brother Burrito
Your comment recalls very closely the Gospel of St Thomas with his words “Spilt the wood and you will find me there, lift the stone and I am there”.
Do feel that the Gnostic texts have something to offer?
“Do [you] feel that the Gnostic texts have something to offer?”
Thank you for the wonderful reflection and video by Fr. Barron. I have heard him speak live on a couple of occasions and listen to his weekly podcast sermons every week. In my opinion, he is a model for the New Evangelization. The last minute of the video is especially applicable so some of our Catholic brothers and sisters. As Fr. Barron points out, we should be “willing to find the truth wherever it lies”. As Catholics, we need to avoid “hyper-fussiness” that can result in a feedback loop that does not engage the wider culture. Catholicism has the fundamental truth but as Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have done in their own styles we need to meet people where they are.
@Gargantua: Brother Burrito is simply echoing the thoughts of St. Paul from his great speech to the Athenians in which St. Paul called God the one who “fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being . . . For we too are his offspring” — Acts 17: 26-28
I am so tired of that meaningless phrase “we need to meet people where they are” — as if we could possibly meet them anywhere else. How can we meet someone in a place where they are NOT?
St Paul in his Athenian speech is clearly nodding towards some of the ideas of Buddhists, Gnostics and so on.
“indeed He is not far from any one of us.” you rightly quote. This is exactly what Brother B is saying and the others too.
Excellent quote from St Paul.
Mimi, we must be careful to not meet people where they are not, especially where we think should be.
You’re tying my brain in knots, BB! If someone is not where we think they should be, it is impossible for us to meet them there. We *cannot* meet them where they are not; that would defy the very meaning of “meeting”.
It ‘s starting to remind me of that old rhyme :
The other day upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today —
Oh God, I wish he’d go away! 🙂
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland”
Mimi, it’s not hard if you’re Alice!
I don’t think Alice was known for bi-location. You’d want Padre Pio for that!
Well, Gaga, it wasn’t Alice. She (clearly not being a Catholic, and possibly a tiny bit of a sceptic) said, “One can’t believe impossible things.”
It was the White Queen (who clearly was a devout one) who declared, ” I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Lucky Robert John won’t have time to read this nonsense. He’d get frightfully cross!”)
You are quite right Mr Toad. The White Queen it is.
Actually, my research reveals that it is an adage used both peculiarly and often among the opulent captains of industry in the Moratinos region of the Kingdom of Castille.
Sadly, your fabled and storied research technique has failed you this one time, G.
You surely must be getting Moratinos mixed up with Marbella.
An easily-excusable error, on your part – because they both begin with the letters “Mor.”
Well, Moratinos does, anyway.
No opulence here. No captains. No industry.
Only barley, rye and sunflowers. And dog excrement. And pilgrims. And silence.
Pope Francis would highly approve.