God’s simple will

I am not so sure why it needs to be difficult: God’s will is Reality, and God is none other than His Will. So God can only be found in reality.

In reality (hah!) this is harder than it should be. But the difficulty in accessing reality is what I would call Original Sin. These are the thoughts which drag us back into history with condemnations or vainglory, and push us forward into a lotus-eater cloud of poppy-induced stupor of fear or…vainglory…see the pattern? I do, I sure do. And I see myself repeating either the fear or the vanity subroutines over and over.

God is the most plainly obvious being that exists, if we but look. God speaks in the most plainly obvious ways, if we listen. Perhaps listen with the ears of our heart, as St. B. recommends.

Quite as obviously Reality does not speak using language, as Psalm 19 put it: They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them./ Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

At the same time it is not diffcult to understand at all. When I want to know someone’s name I ask “What is your name?” When I want to know directions to a place I ask (sometimes my phone, sometimes the internet, but I ask!): “Where is such-and-such place?” I ask/type and I hear/read the reply.

There is no reason to suppose it would ever be otherwise in a plain-and-simple world. And this is where we live. The world is very flat, and a brazen miracle. Yet we have penchant for the obscurities of pride.

And in this infection lies the very road to healing. It is through the fog and fever of vainglory that we must convalesce. It is so much easier to label difficulties as obstacles, as demons to be vanquished and exorcised. How much more interesting to develop a path of embrace and peacemaking. Why all this shouting of war? Why not embrace the demon which torments us?

I do not mean indulge the demon. But embrace the demon. It is just a mirage, a fantasy, a phantasm. How do we embrace a demon? You know you are facing a demon if you fear “it” (whatever it is). You know you are facing a demon if the mere thought of embracing “it” revolts you. You know you are facing a demon if despite the fear and the loathing you are aroused by its presence. You know you are facing a demon if there is a family curse. You know you are facing a demon if you feel weakened in will at the mere thought of it. You know you are facing a demon if you crave the shame of indulgence. You know you are facing a demon if you discover inhuman strength, supernatural cunning to feed it.

You are very well aware of all of the above (and more), but you anchor yourself in prayer, “Help me! God help me! Jesus help me!” The Jerusalem Community Rule of Life (JCRL) states: “To bring your prayer right into the city and to receive the city into your prayer. To live the link between action and contemplation, work and contemplation, the street and contemplation” (JCRL 2:14).

So, true prayer happens in the context of the reality of life. It is the LIVING of action AND contemplation. As the psalmist puts it “Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?” (Psalm 6. See also 88, 115, etc). Praying is an action of living. True contemplation is just as possible in the car with your spouse as it is on retreat in a monastery or on top of a remote mountain.

In fact, the work which God has offered me as I sat idle in the marketplace, in the eleventh hour hour, the work which I have willingly accepted, is the very work of contemplation of God in the heart of Jesus Christ in the middle of this moment.

And it is a simple job, very simple.


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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