Thursday, February 28, 2013

God Is In Everything

In this world, nothing is continuous. Look in the street: in the morning there is rain, at noon it is clear, and in the evening it is cold again.  Wind then calm, cold then hot; so also in our life. Always be ready to follow the will of God, whether it is pleasing to you or not.
St. Anatoly in Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

One of the secrets of the spiritual life is that everything can be beneficial. This is not actually a secret. Holy people and those who cite them have been saying this since the beginning of time. But hearing and knowing are not the same thing.

Knowing comes only through experience: experience of the hot and cold, and wind and calm of life. Vicissitudes. The only way we can grow in our relationship with God is to trust Him even in the vicissitudes, in the changes, in the ups and downs, in the blooming and the wilting.

Being ready to follow the will of God does not mean that one must interpret everything that happens as God's will--God's will in the sense that everything that happens is a manifestation of the nature of God. This is not the case. God has so constructed the universe that angelic and human free agents, with the real ability to say 'no' to God, determine to a large extent the course of events. Nevertheless, God is even bigger than our real ability to say 'no'. In his freedom, Cain can slay Able; but God in His inscrutable providence raises the dead.

To follow the will of God is to live in expectation of the resurrection. To follow the will of God is to live as though God is bigger than death, bigger than the 'no' of men and of fallen angels, bigger than what is or is not pleasing to me, bigger than what does or does not makes sense to me.

And living in expectation of the resurrection is not pie in the sky. The resurrection is an experience that we enter now. The resurrection is the experience of everything as miracle. The resurrection is the Life of God in our lives no matter what: rain or snow, fair weather or foul.  

Unfortunately, many of us only experience brief moments of this resurrection life.  I am often caught up in a stream of worried thoughts: schemes to change the weather, to avoid the unpleasant, the spectres I fear most. Some spectres I know, many are subconscious: death in all it's forms, murderous Cain.  Sometimes I even become Cain myself, imagining myself killing that which I am afraid might kill me; stealing from the one who might steal from me, taking "my fair share," looking out for me and mine. Sometimes even at times of prayer, I notice that I am tense, then I realize that for the last ten minutes I have let my mind wander in a godless fantasy, a fantasy in which I must figure it all out, in which it all depends on me. And then I have to bring myself back to reality.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner...

Living life as prayer, we accept the rain and the sun, the cold and the heat, the pleasant and unpleasant. We accept all as God's will.  We look for the resurrection in every death, we see the resurrection in ever bloom.  God is in everything--even when we forget, and worry, and get caught up in godless fantasies. God is still in everything, waiting for us to return to Him, to His inscrutable providence, to reality.

1 comment:

TeresaAngelina said...

Amen, Fr. Michael. Even in impossible employment situations and with a flu and head cold combined. All is grace.