Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

Mystery of the Divine

Nov 22, 2016

 I used to take great comfort in the predictability of my mother and father. I pretty much know how they would react to any given situation. But there were times when they said or did the unpredictable and this always disturbed me even as an adult. It was an indicator that they were independent from me and had a freedom that rested in themselves. Because of their predictability I had a sense of "normal" that I could pretty much count on, but there was always that element of surprise arising out of their freedom. This is the common experience of human interaction. Given our freedom we are not bound by our nature to perform in any certain way. Those who study the natures of the animals can successfully predict the outcome of the animal's response tot he challenges that their environment presents to them. This is called "natural instinct" which allows the other animals to be successful in dealing with the world that they live in.

Humans however, being created in the image and likeness of God, have been given freedom from the slavery of natural instinct. We are free to choose our pathway in the midst of the many challenges that confront us. Some of us are more successful than others in coping with those issues. We tend to be fairly predictable over the long run but each of us is capable of surprising others (and perhaps even ourselves) as we make choices. This is the mystery of the human person and it reflects the same mystery of the Divine. As I introduced this article I spoke of the comfort I received in my parent's predictability, however I came to know them much better when they surprised me by doing or saying something "out of character". 

Too often we are blinded by our need for predictability in our relationships with others and especially in our relationship with God. Instead of entering into the mystery of the other we too often demand that they meet us in our "safe zone" where we can count on them to meet our expectations. The most successful human relationships are marked by the acceptance of the mystery of the other as opposed to the predictability of the other. Over time the other person shows us their general tendencies that we do count on, but always reserved is the individuality of choice. We either accept this allow the relationship to flourish, or we move on since we are made uncomfortable by the general tendency of the other.

God is the great mystery, and even though this weekend the Church attempts to frame His Son as the great King of the world, this is a title the Jesus himself would have despised. He did not show himself framed within any political context, and in fact was clearly outside of any context that we humans could possibly thrust upon him. He has chosen to reveal himself as one of the poorest of the poor. He has told us that when we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick or imprisoned, give water tot he thirsty we are doing those actions to Him. We have to move beyond our own need for predictability in our understanding of God and accept Him where He surprises us if we really want to get to know Him as He really is. He chooses to go into a very unpredictable place. Who would think that the creator of the world and all of it's riches would identify himself most closely with the lowest of human beings? If you really want to know God, consider Him in His choices, not your own.

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