This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

What keeps me from listening to the Divine One?

Lookout Mountain, Denver CO
If the Divine One is in everything and in every event, how is it that I don't recognize that?  How is it that I don't hear and even listen?  It must be that I am not present to the reality around me within which I live and move?

It seems that most of the time I am occupied with my own internal life and simply am not aware.  If I am not aware of the people and events around me--on their own terms, not mine--how can I ever be present to the Divine One.  Simply being does not seem to come naturally to me.  It takes conscious effort to slow down and observe without any kind of agenda.  For me, this is difficult.

Ignatius Loyola wrestled with this problem and came to the conclusion that desire was at the root of the problem.  If we experience other people and things as somehow related to our desires, we don't really experience them but rather our desires.  He expressed this in a prayer that is central to the spirituality he developed.  David Fleming, S.J. captured this in a prayer he entitled, "The Goal and Purpose of Life."  When I experienced the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises, I wrote my own prayer based on his.

Goal and Purpose of Life
October 2013 
You created me to know, love, and serve you.  There is no other purpose for my life, nor need there be any other.
All creation is from you and is meant to support me in living out my purpose.  All creation forms a “context of gift” into which you have birthed me.  Nothing you have made is anything else but good, true, and beautiful because all is one with you and is an expression of your unfathomable love.  I can use creation in ways that are conducive to my purpose in life or I can use it to retard that purpose.  It is my choice and it is based on what advances your reign and what retards it..
Thus my fundamental stance is one of a caring, involved indifference toward creation so that my choices are ones that are based on pursuing the goal and purpose of my life.  I should not fix my desire on
health or sickness, 
wealth or poverty, 
success or failure, 
a long life or short one, 
acceptance or rejection, 
order or chaos, 
pleasure or pain, 
serenity or turmoil, 
connectedness or isolation, 
strength or weakness, 
knowledge or ignorance.  
For everything has the potential of calling forth in me a deeper response to my life in God.
None of this is possible without your life and love welling up within me and becoming the foundation of my being.  I know from my own experiences that without you, I do not make choices conducive to the purpose of my life.  Without you, my idols are in charge and I remain trapped "in the flesh."
I pray for the grace to respond ever more deeply to your loving presence within me so I too can say, "Now, not I live, but Christ lives in me."

So it is desire that weakens my capacity to listen to the Divine One.  It is not even what I desire as much as the desire itself.  Those desires whether for "good" things or "bad" things takes me away from being fully present to my reality at the moment.  If I am not present to my reality at the moment, I cannot be present to the Divine One who is ever present in that reality.  It is not even so much desiring things to be better; it is even in desiring things to stay the same.  The desire itself distorts my perception of and engagement with what is right in front of me.

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