Friday, August 22, 2008

all for the best wrapped in the loving arms of mystery?

Jesus' basic conviction was not only that God is close to us, but also that God loves us. As we have seen, God's unconditional love was the foundation of Jesus' spirituality. But it God is the all-encompassing mystery, how are we to make sense of this love? What would it mean to say that we are loved by the awe-inspiring mystery that is intimately close to us? Can I be loved by a mystery or by the mystery?

I can begin by recognizing that the mystery in which I live and movee and have my being is not hostile to me and cannot be. I am part of the mystery. The mystery gave birth to me.The mystery must then be more concerned about me thatn I am about myself. If the mystery of God is closer to me than I am to myself and if we are in some profound sense one, then I have nothing to fear. I will be cared for at all times and in all circumstances. Nothing can really harm me and whatever happens will be for the best. I am loved beyond measure because I am one with the whole mystery of life.

As I gradually become aware of the closeness of the mystery we call God, so do I become aware of the impossibility of being hated and rejected. If the mystery of it all were to hate and reject me, it would be hating and rejecting itself. Just as I am challenged to love my neighbor as myself, so also can I come to recognize that God loves me as God's own self. We are in some mysterious sense one self.
Albert Nolan. Jesus Today: A Spirituality of Radical Freedom. New York: Orbis, 2006. 145.

1 comment:

ms said...

i sent an email (maybe the last to you) kind of on this -- probably too long and convoluted and just too much and not meaning to pester by bringing up the same subject -- but something in the "Seven Story Mountain" still puzzles (and worries) me: Merton suggests many times that to have grace and realtionship with God we take a path not of our own choosing[so is there nothing i can do? so it seems] but also he goes further to say we cannot choose but can only be chosen. Merton writes that we cannot believe these things by wanting to believe, but only through grace: "Unless he receive grace, an actual light and impulsion of the mind and will from God, he cannot even make an act of living faith. It is God who gives us faith, and no one cometh to Christ unless the Father draweth him." Well it may seem I am drawn but perhaps it is not by God since there seem no answers and no spiritual direction despite all of this and asking both discreetly and directly, depending on circumstance. I kid you not, I contacted a Church program which said it offered spiritual direction through (for lack of a better word) "mentors" and the response has been silence. Maybe I am not drawn but only confused? I can believe that w/o much trouble based on all the stuff i have done or in which i've been a participant, no matter how unwilling some of it may have been. So now i am wanting and there seems to be nothing; i have learned not so long ago that I've been angry, maybe still am, at God for allowing the things he did so is he waiting for me to get over it?
I would like to get to that place but if Merton is correct that only God can put me on the path, I begin to fear that i am just out of luck. But I don't really know why - my guesses as to why would return me to the idea of a punishing and angry God and to myself as 100% responsible for everything that has ever happened