Today’s Lectio Divina:
Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him. You’ve even seen Him!” Philip said,“Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.” “You’ve been with Me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see Me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on My own. The Father who resides in Me crafts each word into a divine act.” John 14: 6-10 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #2: Ignatian spirituality is all about God as our Creator. God is involved in the world and involved in the lives of individuals, guiding us, communicating to us, and loving us. God is holy, other, and transcendent; yet God is personal, involved, and immanent. God is Triune – with each person of the Trinity unique, but yet One.
St. Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercises, found it beneficial for his followers, as they began their journey through the Exercises, to wrestle with the basic question, “Who is God?” As we mentioned last time, one of the core components in answering this important question surfaces early on in our ancient Scriptures. In Genesis 1, the first metaphor given to us when describing God is our word Creator. So, it’s no accident that Ignatius, and nearly every other generation of Christ-followers over the centuries, finds itself subscribing to the ancient creed…
I believe in God, the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
But, before we go any further in our Ignatian journey, let’s take a moment today to unpack this second metaphor found both in the ancient creeds, and more importantly, as we find in today’s Lectio Divina, in the words of Christ, Himself…
God, the Father.
Just think of it. With two little words, the Father, we all just took a huge step away from a generic, plain-vanilla god and now, we’re describing the truest essence of who this God, the Creator, actually is! Allow me to ponder for a moment on each of these two words, one at a time…
In the English language, the little word ‘the’ is known as an article, and it is used alongside a noun, bringing special significance or designation to that noun. So, there’s a huge difference between the phrase “I believe in God” and “I believe in the God,” because with the use of “the” we are signifying oneness and uniqueness to that god, placing that deity apart from lesser ‘generic’ gods. Another reason for the importance of the word, ‘the’ is because it points us toward a creed of monotheism, or a belief system that holds to only one unique god as our creator. This is a key unifying truth that Christianity shares with both the Islamic and Jewish faiths but differs from other religions who go in the opposite direction, called polytheism, believing in a multitude of gods. The ancient Greeks, for example, believed in twelve gods, while Egyptians celebrated over 2,000 deities! Today, Buddhism and Hinduism are the largest polytheistic religions, and some even accuse Christianity’s belief in the Trinity as an indicator of a polytheistic view of God. But, quite honestly, it’s this little word ‘the’ that helps us all remember that at the core of our Christian belief system is a God, a Creator, who is One (see Deuteronomy 6: 4). And it’s this monotheistic uniqueness, or oneness of God, which brings us now to…
Volumes can be written here about the amazing qualities associated with this one word, Father. As a matter of fact, many say that it was this descriptive metaphor for God that caused Jesus’ persecution and ultimately, His death upon the cross. You see, while other religions will agree with the idea that God is the “procreator” in creation, begetting or bringing forth life on planet earth, the idea of that same Creator being a hands-on, interactive, loving, nurturing father is heresy. In the Jewish belief system in which Jesus of Nazareth was raised, presenting the God of all creation (Yahweh or the Great I AM) as Abba or Daddy (Poppa or Father) was so sacrilegious, few could accept any of the other claims Jesus was presenting in His day.
So, with Ignatius, the metaphor of God as Father, Creator of heaven and earth, becomes the true game-changer, moving our understanding of the Deity from a distant, all-powerful, all-knowing god to a loving, caring, interactive parent, One who knows each of His children in intimate, personal ways.
When I ponder on the possibilities of my Creator having that kind of personal relationship with me, it makes me curious to know Him even better.
More on that next time.
My prayer: Father God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, I stand in awe at the fact that You are vastly different than all of the other gods that have been created in the mind of mankind. You are not created, Father God, but are The Creator. And You are not some all-powerful, all-knowing deity who creates something, only to walk away from it, but are a loving, caring, compassionate, nurturing Father who chooses to be intimately involved with everything and everyone in Your vast creation. I bless You for that truth. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to consider: For Ignatius, the truth that the Divine is indeed, a loving Father, Creator of all things, while intimately involved in all things is a core truth we must not overlook. How might I take this core truth, God, the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and allow it to reshape my limited, two-dimensional views of God and how I perceive that same God interacting with me in my personal life?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!