Monday, July 10, 2017

Silently Gazing Upon God

I absolutely love reading and hearing about others interpretation of God, and His work within their lives and in the world. One of my favorite theologians is Father Richard Rohr, but sometimes he’s a little too deep for my understanding. I read his work anyway, and try to pull out the meaningful pieces that can make a difference in my life, and how I should respond to the call of God in my relationships.

Today in his daily meditation, Monday, July 10, 2017 the topic was Rebuilding on a Contemplative Foundation by Silently Gazing upon God.

This title really caught my attention,
Silently Gazing upon God. Immediately it made me think of seeing God through the eyes of a child and how we see His influence in nature.

Rohr quotes Rowan Williams, the 2012 Archbishop of Canterbury by saying, “To be fully human is to be recreated in the image of Christ’s humanity; and that humanity is the perfect human 'translation' of the relationship of the eternal Son to the eternal Father, a relationship of loving and adoring self-giving, a pouring out of life towards the Other.”

Coming up is the word 
contemplative (noun and verb), which I like to partially define as spiritual listening. One who is contemplative is a Contemplative.

Rohr goes on to say, “To be contemplative as Christ is contemplative is to be open to all the fullness that the Father wishes to pour into our hearts. With our minds made still, and ready to receive, we are at last at the point where we may begin to grow… and we seek this not because we are in search of some private “religious experience” that will make us feel secure or holy. We seek it because in this self-forgetting gazing towards the light of God in Christ we learn how to look at one another and at the whole of God’s creation.”

One way we can experience this oneness with God directly, physically and spiritually by observing His universe in nature. We can gaze towards the light of God in Christ through His creations.

For example, in the image left we see a time-lapse image of all the stars rotating around Polaris, the North Star. I have experienced this only once in my life. The image 'Star Trails' was taken by Marjan Lazarevski, Skopje, Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia). Photo caption: While other stars apparent positions in the sky change throughout the night, as they appear to rotate around the celestial poles, the Pole Star (Polaris) apparent positions remain virtually fixed.

I hope we will all find the time to look closely and gaze upon God through his creations, either earthly or heavenly and realize how close we are to the presence of our Creator.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What is Standing In The Way of You Reaching Your Peak?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with this phrase repeating itself through my mind, Don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of reaching your peak!

I am not one to believe that dreams are special premonitions that come from God or a psychic realm. Yes, I do believe that God can influence our thoughts and dreams, but we may be just as likely to have certain dreams because of stress, past experiences or something we consumed that gave us a reaction, like pepperoni pizza.

I do have some idea of what inspired this post. Recently I received a copy of my Social Security benefits and projected retirement earnings. The summary was very inclusive from the year I first filed taxes at age eighteen until last year. In the chart you could see the gradual increase in annual earnings from then until now. It was very interesting.

Let's look at the following graph. It is fictional and generic, and could represent many different things.

The points on the graph could represent the stock market, home finance spending or the number of tomatoes you picked in the garden. Consider this. Is it possible that the graph could represent even a wider range of ideas for growth and decline? Could it represent human virtues such as happiness, spirituality or self-confidence?  I think it can.  Let us suppose this scenario for an example using the human trait (or way of being), Self Confidence.

Let us say Point A is when I was nineteen years old, and had all the hope and confidence in the world. I climbed through life until point B, where I was laid off from my job. At Point C I found a new source of employment until I discovered I wasn't emotionally fit for that line of work (D). Point E represents another beginning, going toward Point F which represents the future.

This could all hold true, but it is also very subjective. We cannot quantify emotions simply by the numbers, and we could have just as appropriately used Emojis on the vertical axis, like they do now for measuring pain in the hospital - but I think you understand my point.

If we spend some time contemplating our personal (or familial) growth or happiness we can begin to see trends. Using the information that comes to us from within, counseling with others and from the Still Small Voice of God we may be able to make different choices that can stem-off potential future low points in our lives.

Now back to my question. What is Standing In The Way of You Reaching Your Peak? Is it life style changes that need to be made, or relationships that need to be mended? Perhaps a job change or restructure is in order, or you need to re-evaluate your social and family life priorities. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that doing the same thing over and over brings us the same result, and until we're ready to raise ourselves up to new heights by making new and different choices, we can expect the trends to repeat themselves.