A month ago I was in Memphis because St. Jude Children’s Hospital had asked me to come back for three days of research as a long-term cancer survivor. It was truly a blessing in many ways. I was so amazed by the depth of gratitude, and compassionate, open hearts throughout the whole community. I was without doubt, walking on Holy Ground. Now more than ever, with fresh memories of such a “beloved community,” I’m convinced that by God’s grace, and our genuine gratitude, a clear and fiery vision can emerge that penetrates through our daily busy-ness or boredom. And it can give each of us as individuals and as a community, a renewing spirit and a clarity of calling. It makes me wonder how we as a church might be more aware and present to this awesome gift of life all around us, and grow increasingly able to respond (i.e., “ responsible”) to God’s very personal call to us as we live out our lives. How can we better witness and support the ways God is calling each and every one of us? I believe God has amazing (even miraculous!) things for us to do, as we grow more mature in our ability to listen and discern God’s direction.
As I was wondering about this at 5:00 am this morning, I read today’s meditation by Richard Rohr. It seemed fitting then, and a little over four hours later, a friend in our Wednesday prayer group asked if he could read something that spoke to him deeply. Then he read parts of the same passage. It seems to me, that it is telling us that we are one Holy Ground, when we are truly Present. I share the quote below with you, adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, and look forward to your experiences and thoughts on this as it relates to your life and calling.
In some ways, presence is the “one thing necessary” (Luke 10:42), and perhaps the hardest thing of all. Just try to keep your heart open, your mind without division or resistance, and your body not somewhere else. Such simple presence is the practical, daily task of all mature religion and all spiritual disciplines. Once you are “present and accounted for,” you grow from everything, even the problematic and difficult things. If your presence is wrong, you will not recognize the Real Presence even in the Eucharist. The Presence will be there — it always is — but you won’t be.
Ultimate Reality cannot be seen with any dual operation of the mind, where we eliminate the mysterious, the confusing, and anything scary, unfamiliar, or outside our comfort zone. Dualistic thinking… cannot access things like infinity, God, grace, mercy, and love — the necessary and important things! I would not respect any God I could figure out with my limited, rational mind. St. Augustine said the same in the fifth century: “If you understand it, then it is not God.”
Grace and peace,