Sometimes an image stirs the heart and takes root. This week “The Tree of Paradise” has fed me with hope for our tired world. Yes, we can plod on superficially satisfied for a time, or perhaps starving on a very deep level. We can labour away, be yanked this way and that. We can even be torn up into little pieces. But midst it all a divine energy is at work secretly creating beauty and goodness founded on truth. Real truth that is golden. A tree where we can find a nest—a home.
We only know what we experience in our own humanness. We know deep down that we are not free. We are bound by our own bedevilment, inner conflicts, and dark moods. The Tree of Life beckons. We know there is satisfaction and peace to be had. Our little pleasures suggest the possibility of something far more enticing. Somewhere there is plenty of space and there is real relationship and intimacy without disappointment, and there is true joy beyond happiness. A place where all the birds of the air can comfortably nest.
We can imagine the tree of God’s kingdom as filling up the whole space between earth and heaven, and this points eloquently to the ultimate state of things envisioned by God himself. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis says “The salvation of the world consists in the Tree of the Kingdom gradually growing in our midst, at first unperceived, until it surpasses and overshadows every other social and political arrangement, and then all mankind will come and nestle in the branches of God’s Kingdom.” (Meditations on the Gospel of St. Matthew, II, 243)
This tree of the golden circles is formed as person by person breaks into freedom. At the bottom of the cross fresh vine shoots are nourished with blood.