Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Created Order as Sacrament

The Created Order as Sacrament by Henri Nouwen

When God took on flesh in Jesus Christ, the uncreated and the created, the eternal and the temporal, the divine and the human became united. This unity meant that all that is mortal now points to the immortal, all that is finite now points to the infinite. In and through Jesus all creation has become like a splendid veil, through which the face of God is revealed to us.

This is called the sacramental quality of the created order. All that is is sacred because all that is speaks of God's redeeming love. Seas and winds, mountains and trees, sun, moon, and stars, and all the animals and people have become sacred windows offering us glimpses of God.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A lot of different analogies have been used for God’s grace. For example, there are biblical analogies like the just and the unjust judge, even God as a jilted lover who loves anyway. This morning I was thinking of God’s grace, and God being like a parent, in a way.

All the way through our children’s childhood my wife and I had a choice to be present, or not be present to our children. Early on we had this sense that our kids couldn’t get enough of us. They wanted us to be around and present to them as much as possible. Of course, as they grew older their desire to have us around diminished, but even at 19 and 20 they still like to have us around once and while.

As parents we had a choice to be present, loving and caring, or to not be present, loving and caring. This choice was tested continually by the way our kids behaved, the way we reacted to their behavior, and our own life challenges. As we look back now I think a regret we have as parents is that we weren’t more present to our children, especially in terms of being distracted by our own “stuff,” but thankfully, God is not like us.

I know it’s an over - used cliché, but we are all God’s children. He cared enough to live and die for us and now our lives are hidden with God for eternity. God has made peace with humanity. Since the beginning of time God has had only one desire and that is to love. We only need to make peace with God ourselves by believing in him and gradually growing in the knowledge and the awareness of God’s love for us. We may have the sense at times that God has abandoned us, but this is only a sense, not a theological fact. God is always there. If he is absent in any “sense”, it’s only because he wants us discover His presence in new and loving ways, and to discover his love to even greater depths.

We may not know it, but like children, we can’t get enough of God. As we mature in our relationship with God, we learn to relate to God in different ways as our confidence in his loving presence grows. God knows this. He knows how we are made and he loves us enough to speak to us, reach out to us, and be present to us in unique ways according to how he has made us, and our life circumstances.

Prayer teaches us to rest in God’s grace and his eternal embrace. We are his children.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Gift

"THE GIFT" by Richard Rohr
Question of the day:
How and when have I surrendered to God?

It has been said many times that, after transformation, you seldom have the feeling you have found anything. It feels much more like Someone found you!

You find yourself having been grabbed, being held, and being Someone’s beloved. At first, you do not even know what is going on. All you know is that it is a most wondrous undergoing, but an undergoing nevertheless. You know you have been”had” (see Jeremiah 20:7-9 or Isaiah 6:4-7). You are in Someone Else’s grip.

How else will anybody rightly give up control? They won’t. They’ll use religion itself as a disguised way of taking control, or try to control God by their good behavior.

From The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (pp.18-19)

Current mantra:
God is in me and I am in God.

Keeping It Together

Life lesson for me...

"Keeping It Together" by Henry Nouwen

How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions? How can we "keep it together" when we are constantly torn apart?

Jesus says: "Not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives" (Luke 21:18-19). We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together. We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord. To say it differently: When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.