September 2005 God-given promptings

The Inexpressible Closeness of God


I have found that spending time in a waiting room is not so bad after all. It is especially life-giving if one takes one's own reading material along. There is a sort of paraliturgy that seems to overtake me as I prepare to leave the house. Hurriedly, I find a book that will, more or less, fit into my purse. (It occurs to me that I usually end up selecting the same kind of reading material each time.) Out of respect for books in general, I usually put a rubber band around the book to safeguard its pages. Who knows, I may be on my way to encountering God.


Lately, my waiting room excursions have brought me into the writings of Karl Rahner, S.J. Many times, what I read follows me home, sometimes even into the days that follow. Fr. Rahner addresses the on-going activity of God within us. Most people are acquainted with the idea of God dwelling within, even though this Presence may be viewed as somewhat static. St. Teresa of Avila speaks of the sun in the interior of the soul from which a brilliant light proceeds. Teresa, herself, was often in conversation with the One, dwelling within. St. John of the Cross, in his Dark Night , sets out on his inward journey with no other light to guide him except the light that burned within. Carl Jung speaks of the heaven, whole and unbroken, within all of us. However, there is another aspect to all of this. As creatures, we not only stay in existence because of God's continuing creation, but this same God is actually quite active within us. Should we say busy?


In looking back, sometimes, we might find ourselves saying: “How did I ever make it through that ordeal?” It seems like the more important question is: “What was God doing within me at the time? Fr, Rahner attributes this activity to the abiding Spirit of God. With the coming of Jesus, we experience the “human face” of God. But with the coming of the Spirit, we experience the “inexpressible closeness of God”, to use an expression coined by Jurgen Moltmann. God is interiorly present, not as a static Presence, but as a profound dynamic Presence, a Presence that takes us beyond where we are to a place where we become something more than we are. How many of us have ever thought of such an activity going on within us? What is more, this dynamic activity of God generally leads to something new.


Such thinking prompts me to believe that maybe some of our disappointments, or plans that have gone awry, are not really the setbacks they seem to be, but are, instead, the embracing “inexpressible closeness of God” bringing us to something new and beautiful in ourselves, something that has been there in secret all along.

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.




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