Monday, August 26, 2013


   One of the major problems with fully activating our faith today is that so many of us imagine God as living "in heaven" up above the sky.  One reason is that the writers of the Bible used the word, "heaven," to mean the sky, and they imagined God as living above the sky.  And the New Testament speaks of Jesus "ascending" into heaven.  The result is that we can easily imagine God and eternity as "up there," distant from us.

   It is time that we brought God and eternity down to earth.  God has been with and within the universe since the moment of creation.  And where God is present, eternity is present.  So here and now, we are living in both space/time and eternity.

   Another problem is that we imagine God as a Being, and this causes us to imagine God as someone like us.  We are always in one particular place and not another, and even though we say that God is everywhere, we can easily imagine God as being in one particular place and not another.  We must erase this image from our mind.

   Our new image of God is that of an All-pervading, Creative, Healing, World-transforming, Loving Presence.  God is present in the computer or ipad you're using to read this blog.  Look at people.  God is present in all of them.  Look at nature.  God is present in all of it.  Everything and everyone are luminous with God's presence.

   Some people mistakenly say that what I'm describing is pantheism, that I'm saying that everything is God.  No.  I'm saying that God is present in everything and everyone.  As St. Augustine said, God is closer to us that we are to ourselves.  We are "saturated" with God.  So, for example, when we pray, we don't have to "reach out" to God; we simply have to relax and open ourselves to God who is already present within us and the world.  God is the vital Presence within us who already knows our innermost thoughts and desires, and who speaks to us in a whisper.

   We discern and experience God within our direct, space/time experiences, for example, when we gaze at a baby, or a sunset, when we feel thanksgiving or gratitude, or when we are conscious of our desire to grow beyond our present self to a more open, mature and complete self, e.g., in our education, marriage, career, personal qualities, etc.  Our desire to keep knowing and maturing as persons knows no limits; it goes all the way to eternity, which is already within us, calling to us.  So when we die, we do not begin our eternal life.  We end our space/time life and start to live only in eternity.

   Our new way of imaging God will help us live our faith more actively and prophetically.  Very especially,  we can get more knowledgeably and energetically engaged in doing in our terms and time what Jesus did in his terms and time, i.e., working for the common good, e.g., in education, business, politics, economics, etc., with a preferential option for the sick, poor, vulnerable and outcast.  The more justice and charity we create here in space/time, the greater glory we are giving God in eternity.


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