"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding God in ALL Things



By Micky Wolf



“God, in freshly baked pie.”

Really?

“Yes. Can you smell the delicious aromas of cinnamon, butter, sugar and apples? And just try to keep from touching the crusty brown edges. See those golden hues, the lumpy, bumpy places concealing the warm, syrupy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness?”

Think it’s a bit of a stretch? Consider again.

Ignatius of Loyola is well known as a passionate Christ-follower who gave us the Spiritual Exercises, a specifically organized but flexible framework for prayer, discernment and reflection. They are likely in greater use now than at any point since they were formally set to text in the mid 1500s. [Read more here.] 

What may be lesser known was Ignatius’ wherewithal to help others see the true presence of God in all things—people, creation, the events and circumstances of daily life, and the infinite heavens beyond. For him, God was not ever to be construed as being containable within any man-made structure or process. 

Ignatius is fully aware of the manifest presence of God in and through His human creations. At the same time, he is careful to inform and enlighten the seeker of the extent to which God inhabits and animates, moment by moment, virtually all manner and substance, whether of heaven or earth. So, what if you were to ponder pie—or anything else you may choose—in light of the truth and relevancy of Ignatius’ insight and subsequent invitation?

“…to consider how God works and labors on my behalf in all created things
on the face of the earth; that is, he acts in the manner of a person at work;
as in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, etc., giving being,
conserving life, granting growth and sensation, etc.

[Spiritual Exercise #236]

God In:

elements—the raw materials, of the stove and tools which were used to make and bake the pie

plants and fruits--the components, measured, mixed and combined to become an apple pie

sensations—the senses enlivened through taste, aroma, and texture, the characteristics of the pie

giving being—the action, the laboring through the person at work, creating the pie

conserving life, granting growth—the partakers, receptivity in those who eat, savor and enjoy the pie

An important key to finding God in all things is to approach each day as a journey of discovering His presence in the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary. Too often we seek Him with petitions, pleadings, or for solutions to deal with the multitude of concerns and issues which arise in daily life. While these are important aspects of developing our relationship with God, relying on our intellect to grow in intimacy with Him will be limited if we tend to see Him primarily as a fixer or problem solver.

3 steps to becoming a true discoverer:


  • Let go of any expectation or preconceived notion of the manner in which God will make His presence known to you.
To let go is to become more child-like in nature, not to be confused with acting childish. Children are curious and interested in everything. The good news for you, as an adult, is you can incorporate your knowledge and wisdom into being child-like—which means you won’t stick your hand in the flame—but you can, and need to, lean closer to the candle, taking time to observe the nuances of movement, color, and temperature.

It has become increasingly difficult to ‘be as little children’ in this fast-paced, technology laden world, yet if we were ever in need of the spontaneity and simple joy that characterize the best of being at this stage of life, it is now.

  • Open your heart to the infinite possibilities.
Appreciating the knowledge and wisdom we have learned and accumulated over time can be a blessing for many reasons—if we don’t succumb to cementing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and attitudes into locked vaults of prejudices and narrow-mindedness. 

The same is true of acquired and established habits and routines; they often provide needed structure for maintaining personal discipline that is beneficial over the long haul—if we don’t fall into the trap of believing our way is the best and only way of thinking, feeling and taking action.

  • Embrace the notion of the living God in motion.
God is God—He can be nothing less or different than the Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent One. God is constantly at work, healing, guiding, renewing and transforming the whole of His creation and created beings.  Which means He simply doesn’t do anything the same way, time after time. 

The thoughts and ways of God are so far beyond our comprehension and understanding we would do well to more graciously accept the ‘unexpectedness’ of the particulars—for no other explanation than because He is God and we are not. [Isaiah 55:8-9]

God works and labors on my behalf in all created things on the face of the earth. The more we allow ourselves to experience the ebb, flow, and movement of God laboring among us through His Holy Spirit, the greater the likelihood we will discover and encounter Him, in the profound as well the simple.

Seems to me God is as most assuredly in the pie as He is in the sky—anyway you slice it.

How do I feel about God being present in all created things?

Do I tend to confine God to certain places? To certain behaviors or actions?

What does ‘he acts in the manner of a person at work’ mean to me?

How do I feel about ‘conserving life, granting growth and sensation’?





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