Fr. Kevin’s Column 9/12/2021

Dear friends of God,

Father Bede Griffiths, OSB Cam. had this profound insight after decades of monastic life in both England (for the first half of his life) and in India (for the second half of his earthly life).

“I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God.”

Imagine that-God is continually seeking each of us. We simply need to pay closer attention to the movements of the Spirit to recognize God’s Presence in our midst. The good news is that whether we realize it or not, and whether we call on him or not, God is always tight with us, loving us into existence. As Dr. Karl Jung, a Swiss psychologist put it: “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” Dr. Jung had that quote above the door of his home. That might be a good quote to have around our own homes and certainly in our own hearts. Bidden or not bidden, God is present. We simply need to turn around and see God right there. There is something consoling for me struggling to understand that there is nothing that I can do to earn God’s presence and there is nothing that I can do that would push God away from me. God is our relentless Divine lover who simply wants to be with us. May each of us turn toward others and to God and leave ourselves aside as we follow the Lord.

This week I will be away for an interfaith experience of mediation. I will keep all of you in prayer and ask that you do the same for me. I will be learning more and more about how prayer and meditation can be transformative as we grow into the true selves that God created us to be, and leave behind the false self, our persona, that so often we think of as our real identity. Over the last number of years, I have been working on my own growing understanding of God’s presence and action in our world and in my life. Taking time for silence and stillness is one of the ways that I open the eye of my own heart to God’s faithfulness.

Trappist monk Fr. Thomas Merton decades ago had an epiphany that reflects our true selves that we seem to miss. He experienced this mystical moment as he was in Louisville for an appointment away from his monastery. He described his experience in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander in this way:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self- isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

We are shining like the sun, but we don’t seem to notice the Divine life that radiates from each of us. Imagine if we noticed this about each other. How would we respond to each other, how would we share love for each other, for all of creation and our very universe?

May each of us be open to the radiance of God in our lives and relationships.
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin