Friday, February 4, 2011

Deep Heavenly Gold

I am contemplating the death of my friend.

Contemplation is not just thinking. It comes from the Latin root con (with) and temple (a place set apart for observation). It is to consider, observe, ponder.

I find that our normal mode is to envision or anticipate what we think ought to be. We have in our minds a narrative of what would be good, or right, or happy. I had a narrative about Laurie – what I wanted to happen. That’s not what happened. Instead, I am seeing a different narrative unfold.

God never – yes, I think that is not too strong to say – never operates on the basis of the narrative we have constructed. Instead He acts – and our part is to consider, to contemplate – those actions. He is not an idol, fashioned by us to do what we want. (see Isaiah 40)

One reason for that, I suspect is that we are after different things. We want to “fix” people. God, on the other hand is after love, or since that is an overused word – friendship.

Sometimes we try and force the facts to fit our narrative. But, as Laurie said, “Beauty lies in the true story.” I want to contemplate the true story. As I do, I am seeing something richer, deeper, more profound than the story I had in mind.

"Christian contemplation only starts when the deep heavenly gold begins to glint through the turbulent surface of earthly affairs."

Hans Urs von Balthasar

To be continued ...

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