Everything is an Experience of God
They call it synergy, the process in which well-intentioned people come together and accomplish much more than they would have individually. This happened, recently, at just such a meeting. Searching for what God might be asking at this time of history, it was suggested that maybe Carmel was being called to bring to the world a new experience of God. At one of these synergistic moments, our Carmel articulated it VISION LOGO for the next three years. We share it with you.
"Carmelite Sisters, --------- embracing and expressing new experiences of Godů"
Is it perhaps true that everything is an experience of God, both the light and the dark? Light events seem easy to recognize as experiences of God. What about the dark ones? What about frustrated plans, illness, diminishment, difficult associates, inability to pray, and all the unanswers that are our constant companions?
Everything has a reverse side. As the disciples walked with the Stranger, they said, "We had hoped." In their desolation, they were conversing with the One they were seeking. Every disappointment carries with it a blessing. If I could have my eyes opened to see the other side, would it not be a type of Resurrection appearance? Fr. Rahner says that if mysticism exists at all, it travels right down the middle of everyday.
Suffering and struggle seem to challenge this mysticism. Where is the experience of God in these moments so difficult to bear? How are we to find meaning?
One way of looking at suffering is to say that, since all of life is a going forward into God, some suffering is "necessary". Perhaps, we should be welcoming and embracing these difficult times, since they, too, lead to Resurrection even now. Such a thought certainly sweetens the load. But, there is another kind of suffering which can be quite unnecessary and for no real profit. In those instances, we may be called to change the situation which gives birth to anguish or possibly just walk around it. In other cases, suffering may not be important enough to merit attention. The bad inn is only for a night.
There is a theory circulating these days referred to as the chaos theory. It can be documented that chaos, too, is very necessary if we are to journey forward into God. Seeming chaos gives birth to creativity and something new. "Behold, I make all things new." Every change, no matter how small, introduced into a system, or into my life, results in a creative disequilibrium, a type of necessary upset. This seeming disharmony can be a sign that the Spirit is at work effecting something beautiful for God, for the world and for me, personally. The chaos theory also states that chaos has boundaries beyond which it will not go, and probably does not want to go. Some people like to think of this boundary as the big embrace of God, Who ultimately holds everything together.
Concretely, what can we do to help ourselves see the reverse side of the dark and troublesome moments? There are ways to do this. However, the process calls for taking out quiet time from our day to reflect on life.
In the setting of prayer, we can ask ourselves questions. These questions all center around the main question, "How am I called to experience God at this moment?"
If I am not at peace, I can ask myself, "What is it that would bring me peace?" "And, there arose a great stillness." Non-peace can lead to its opposite. What would I tell another in my situation? Ignatius says to go and do likewise.
I can examine whether or not the suffering upon me is really necessary. What is the Reign of God asking of me at this moment? Necessary suffering can carry with it a glimpse of the Resurrection. As the saying goes, sometimes only a glimpse is enough.
Then too, we can always look at the Scriptures. What are they saying about my present situation? For example, if my yoke is not sweet and my burden not light, perhaps I am giving attention and energy to the wrong yoke. Precisely, what yoke should I be carrying?
Christ is Risen. This means that the Risen One first descended into all that is of earth. The Risen Jesus went down into ultimate lostness, down to the source where all tears have their origin, down to the innermost center of all disappointments.The Living Christ has become the heart of the world, its secret and inward strength. Weakness, suffering, pain, and even the service of death are not final.
This Risen Jesus is in everything. This One of God is with us when we struggle to give birth to the message that might benefit others. The Risen Jesus is with us when we attempt to proclaim the Resurrection with feeble words which could be phrased so much better.
The Risen Christ is present in our world even in the message not heard or accepted. No one can really shut the door to this Risen One, Who quietly and secretly enters the human heart anyway and makes it restless until the message is heard and heeded. Chaos and restlessness are merely signs that the power of the Resurrection is at work.
Thus, everyday we can awake with eagerness and say, "Today, I shall see God. What I have been hoping for has happened. I need not fear or be afraid of anything."
Sr. Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia