The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

19 December 2009

Mysterious ways

I've had cause to reflect on the mysterious ways of God, lately. It has led me to think about people who struggle with the idea of God, and those who do not believe at all - atheists. I'm one of those Catholics who is in it all the way: Papal infallibility, Immaculate Conception, virgin birth, sin, redemption, sanctity of life from conception to natural death (including the whole business covered by Love and responsibility/Theology of the body), miracles and eternal life - all of it.

Even freely believing in God and accepting the teachings of my faith, having had a little instruction, there are many things I do not understand. One of the big ones is how God moves in our lives. He is real and present in our individual lives. That can be relatively easy to accept - it speaks of love and tenderness, and let's face it, once you've accepted the concept of a 'supreme being' who has created the universe and so on, it's not a big leap to also accept He would be aware of you, right?

The trouble comes with the dichotomy of the Omnipotent who is not also a puppet-master. As ominous as it sounds, our God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, but it's important to know that He does not do everything...He does not live our lives for us, manipulating our every thought and action. He is the source of all things, He is the initiator, the creator, the artist. Do you see the distinction? He is not the action or the work itself, but rather the spark of imagination, or the impulse to serve.

This has been made clear to me in my own life over the past year. For example: my dad died last December, and death brings with it many challenges, from the practical details of arrangements and finances to the intimate reality of grief and mourning. If God were a puppet master, I would expect Him to remove the difficulties altogether, Instead, He worked through other people to provide our family with the love, support and skilled help we have needed over the past year.

As another example, I have been unable to find steady work since moving a year ago. So many people in many beautiful ways have reached out to me, providing me with shelter, contract work, the opportunity to pursue a dream by taking some classes, and now literally everything (from food to kleenex) comes from the generosity of people who love me. Such heroic generosity is possible because they are open to the Divine Impulse - they allow God to work through them.

God's economy blesses every party involved: my generous benefactors grow in holiness and experience joy; I - a chronic worry-wort, needing to be self-reliant and independent - have been given the gift of knowing Matthew 6:25 is true:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet
your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

God provides. But the truly beautiful thing is that He makes it personal: through your generosity to me, I have seen the Face of God. Thank you.

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