Making All Things New
When we look at the big picture today, we can discern that most people are searching for God whether they know it or not, searching in whatever strange ways. The current virus is a wake-up call saying, “Stop and reflect.” “Why are you disturbed?” “What matters to you?” “Where are you going?” “How are you expending your energy?” Here is a chance to re-evaluate.
In another era at another difficult time Jurgen Moltmann was shaken to his roots. After the experience of Nazism, World War II, imprisonment and torture, and the breakdown of all things German, Jurgen Moltmann felt powerless. So he began to pray by identifying with how Jesus suffered. Ultimately he realized that “I have been crucified with Christ, and now it is not I who live, but Christ lives in me” Gal. 2.20.
Moltmann discerned that most people are suffering from separation anxiety. They long for communion with a perfect companion, in Christian terms, “The Bridegroom”, but they often out of fear steer away from what is most real.
God made us to his own likeness and image. Deep within each of us is something like a specially cut diamond that is utterly pure and beautiful that longs for union with God himself. It is a form awaiting the fullness of presence located in a place of powerlessness, emptiness, and infinitity, since it touches on the divine which is foreign to our felt experience.
As persons we have the ability to say the complete YES—to life, to how life is given to us moment by moment. That YES has to do with our vocation and its duties, our service, our care, our willingness to reach out to one another. It has to do with how we act when we ‘hit a wall’. We can despair, or we can go in deeper. Temporarily we can go out in greater service to others. The wall is our present cross, an impasse that we would rather not suffer. If we are open and willing to go deeper so that we can break through into new growth, we can say “YES, I will accept this difficult moment and explore it creatively.”
Perhaps we are being called further into the unknown. The abyss that touches on infinity. “See, the Bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!” Mt. 25:6. Allow him to enter your heart in a new way. Interiorize the way he is coming to you. Whatever is being asked, large or small, it is just what is needed. “Bend what is stiff, warm what is cold, guide what has gone astray,” we pray for the coming of the Spirit with an openness that is ready for anything.
The Dominican theologian Yves Congar tells us that the Holy Spirit… penetrates into us like an anointing. The Spirit makes us conscious of the sovereign attraction of the Absolute, the Pure and the True, and of a new realm offered to us… and he also gives us a clear consciousness of our own wretchedness and of the untruth and selfishness that fills our lives. We are conscious of being judged, but at the same time we are forestalled by forgiveness and grace, with the result that our false excuses, our self-justifying mechanisms and the selfish structure of our lives break down.
It is the Spirit who opens us, who welcomes the Bridegroom If we co-operate with this light of truth then we are set free in new ways. We become a veritable fountain. And this process happens again and again.
“When Christ is thus enthroned in a human heart which has known the darkness and has faced it creatively and now knows and lives in the light, it is impossible for that heart to grown old and dry and cynical and self-absorbed; it must become a place full of springs: it must have in it the ardour and high purpose, the freshness and energy, of unspoilt youth, because it is living in love, and love is always pouring into it, and so it becomes an instrument played on by the Holy Spirit, able at all times, whatever the moment may bring, to cooperate with the work of the Spirit in renewing, rejuvenating, the face of the earth.” Gerald Vann
Then perhaps we will catch the drift of Paul’s words: “We all with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same likeness from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Cor.