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Finding God in All Things

October 2, 2012

Source: 500px.com via Jenny on Pinterest

 

In today’s busy world there is an increasing desire for experiential union with God. This hunger leads us to a personal discipline that St. Ignatius of Loyola believed was central to spiritual vitality. A phrase frequently associated with his life and writings is “finding God in all things” … Ignatius has been called a “contemplative in action.” He taught that union with God could be fostered at any time and under any circumstances. In his spiritual diary, written near the end of his life, Ignatius believed that, “Every time, any hour, that he wished to find God, he found him.” After almost 500 years, this truth continues to resound in devotional literature.

Elisabeth-Paule Labat, a contemporary writes, “God is in fact always pressing into the everyday and often colorless fabric of the life of each one of us.”

 We live in a culture of busyness, particularly religious busyness for pastors and Christian leaders.  Often, such leaders capitulate to a life of distraction resulting in a complete loss of spiritual focus amid the many responsibilities of serving others. While Ignatius encouraged periods of solitude, he was deeply concerned with how one maintains a sense of God’s presence during the challenges of the day.  In this sense, he was a “mystic of action in tune with the one action of God.” Central to Ignatius’ practice was the belief that “unless we are contemplative we will miss God acting in everything around us and in ourselves.”

So often we divorce contemplation from action. We divorce them so completely that we make no attempt to establish union with God throughout the day. We slip into the belief that the time for encounter is when we stop for what is usually called “devotions” or “quiet time.” It is important for us to realize that contemplation and action are not disconnected from each other. In the life of Christ we see them joined together.

Throughout history others have emphasized the possibility of finding God in the middle of all of life’s circumstances. Brother Lawrence offered us his experience as a model for such intentionality in his book The Practice of the Presence of Christ. He wrote, “The most holy and necessary practice in our life is the presence of God.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade emphasized the “sacrament of the present moment.” His thesis was simply this: “The events of every moment are stamped with the will of God.” Thomas Kelly, in his book A Testament To Devotion, wrote about the Inner Principle – a continual awareness of God in the soul.  “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul… Eternity is in our hearts, pressing upon our time-worn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home to Itself.”

Gary Moon and David Benner share a story about a group of leaders who were just beginning to discover this Ignatian concept.  They write:

These were long-term, card-carrying members of evangelicalism who had spent their lifetimes in Christian study and service.  But only recently, it seemed, had each enrolled in Christianity 101… Toward the end of our time together, one of the group members uttered words that seem an appropriate summary to that discussion… “Could it be that it [the process of spiritual formation] is simply becoming aware that God is everywhere and then learning how to be with him – in the presence of divine love.”

At the heart of the spiritual journey is an essential question: Where have you sensed the presence of Christ in your life? We find Christ in unexpected places. Such was the Ignatian journey toward God – one of reflective evaluation.  The Ignatian commitment to awareness is central to an experiential union with Christ.  Unless we take time to honor his presence in all that surrounds us, we will miss his attempts to establish union with us.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you, this is beautiful. I am a Christian, and interestingly, I have been taking a yoga/meditation class, non sectarian, and I am finding myself communing with God much more regularly, through movement and through meditation and thougt it interesting that I went outside the church to a place where God showed me how to experience Him even in every breath I take. He is all around and yes, taking that time to know He is in me and around me and in everything, has truly been life changing for me. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece.

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