If you are looking for devotional material for Advent, may I recommend my own Reformation of the Heart, which leads the reader through each day of Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, and Holy Week. It includes a handy scripture index.
A thought crossed my mind today that I can’t let go of.
It took a virtual eternity to get to me, to you, to our present lives.
We think of eternity as a thing of the future. “Where will you spend eternity?” billboards and bellicose Bible-thumpers ask. Much religion is based on this premise. “Squandering eternity” has come to mean giving up heaven, an everlasting future with God.
But the only eternity we “know” is in the past, the billions of years it took to form the universe, solar systems, planets, inhabitable planets, life, and the forms of life those planets host today.
Eternity has brought us to this moment, the breath I take as I write this, the breath you take as you read this. Squandering eternity is not living up to this moment, not being fully mindful of it, not reverencing all that has come into balance, into play, to make this moment “work,” to create this eco-sphere in which we live and move and have our being, to evolve my/your consciousness to reflect its magnificence.
Much of our lives is denial and distraction. We fill our moments rather than letting them fill us. We’re occupied with our pasts and preoccupied with our futures.
The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius, believed that, in the Final Judgment, God will not ask what we didn’t do, but rather, “How much of my creation did you not enjoy?”
Given our current displays of xenophobia and environmental arrogance, we could ask ourselves, how many of God’s creatures do we not enjoy? And, given various inequalities, how much enjoyment is being denied others?
Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” And it was the Jesuit-educated priest and physicist George Lemaître who gave us the wondrous concept behind the Big Bang. Talk about a singular moment!
I lost my muse in July, our beloved dog Hobbes. Though now she joins me only in spirit for my morning prayers on the deck, I am not bereft of “wildlife,” so to speak. Identical twin cats sometimes watch me from a neighbor’s window. A hummingbird occasionally flies inquisitively before my face. Almost every morning, a bee gathers nectar from the flowers in our hanging baskets.
I once said the Lord’s Prayer as my eyes followed the bee move from tiny blossom to blossom, as if the bee were praying it. How differently God’s kingdom and power and glory seemed then!
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough,” Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote.
Ignatius defined sin as anything that blocks the love that God is trying to share with you, or blocks your love for God. And for Ignatian spirituality, God is part of everything.
To Ignatius, what bothers God is not our being fully human, but our trying to be God.
Let God be eternal.
Take this moment to wonder that you have come to be after all this time.
Cultural anthropologist Rene Girard died earlier this month. As many of you know, I used his understandings of mimesis, mimetic rivalry, violence, and the scapegoat mechanism in my book, Coming Out as Sacrament. For an excellent analysis of his life’s work, please click here.
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Copyright © 2015 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.