Today’s Lectio Divina:
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. Psalm 139: 7-12 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #3: Ignatian spirituality is all about Finding God in All Things. In God we live, we move, and we have our being. There is no separation between sacred and secular.
Sadly, as we talked about last time, religion tends to be really good at setting up lines and boundaries. Ins and outs. Rules and regulations. All put in place by well-meaning people so that we humans will be able to define just about anything and everything we need to know about the God we serve.
I believe it was Voltaire who said,
In the beginning, God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since!
You see, when a god can be contained, placed conveniently within our own created framework of limitations, it’s much easier to believe that we have control of our lives…and sadly, control over the lives of others around us, as well.
But alas, the God of our Scriptures absolutely refuses to cooperate with our best efforts to contain Him, control Him, or worse yet, screen Him out. In truth, this timeless, ageless, omnipotent, omnipresent God we call Creator/King stubbornly refuses to be a deity with any limitations at all!
So, as you journey with St. Ignatius through his Spiritual Exercises, you’ll quickly learn that Iggy never found a place in either his theology or in his personal life, where he believed that God was absent or somehow, someway not in control of circumstances around him. As a matter of fact, the sooner you and I can agree with Ignatius when he says that God is all-powerful and, indeed, in all things, the sooner we will be free to follow Him wherever He leads and go wherever He wants us to go.
As I see it, this strong belief that God is in control of all things and that God is in all things becomes a game-changer, especially for those of us who’ve spent a lifetime trying to force God to fit into all of our little, preset boxes.
King David, in one of his most popular songs (Psalm 139), reveals to his listeners that he is apparently done trying to limit God and His in-breaking presence. Through a series of rhetorical questions, David is basically telling us that this God we all serve will never allow Himself to be separated from us, His loving creation.
Fly up high in the sky? God’s there!
Go down into the depths of the earth? God’s there!
Get up early in the morning? God’s there!
Move to the ends of the earth? God’s there!
Find myself in a dark place? God’s there!
Even if I choose to find myself in a dark place? God’s still there!
You see, it’s impossible for you or me to find a place in this world, or the next for that matter, where God is not already there!
Now, for the sinful side of me, this truth that God is in all things, quite honestly, may not be the best news! I mean, who wants to know that Jesus is sitting right next to me when I’m doing or saying things I shouldn’t be saying or doing?
But, here’s the good news!
There is no place, no circumstance, no situation, no dry place, no place of desolation where I am ever alone and forgotten. Oh, I know the devil wants me to believe otherwise, but here’s the truth. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus!
I think I just quoted a Bible text! But, more on that next time!
My prayer: Father God, forgive me when I attempt to limit Your influence in either my personal life or in the lives of others. Like King David asked, “Where can I go to flee Your presence?” Holy Spirit, enlighten and empower me to believe that, indeed, the presence of God is all around me, even when it might seem to me that darkness is my only friend. Lord Jesus, I believe. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: If God is, indeed, all powerful and in all things, how does that change many of my pre-set expectations of God and His presence? How might my words and actions be different knowing that there is no place on this planet where I can go that would be outside the loving, in-breaking presence of God?
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!