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Finding God in All Things

From the Director

By Fr. John Burger

Sometimes a line of poetry or the words of a hymn can stay in our mind for many years. Something in the turn of phrase resonates in our heart. For some reason, these lines have stuck with me over the years.

“Lord, teach us to pray,
It’s been a long and cold
December kind of day.
With our hearts and hands all busy
in our private little wars,
We stand and watch each other now
from separate shores.
We lose the way.”

Joe Wise wrote those lines 40 plus years ago, but I observe that our “hearts and hands” continue to be busy “with our private little wars.” Christianity is all about pursuing right relationships with God whom we cannot see and with each other whom we can. Our lives should not be a series of “private little wars.” In an election year, in a nation so deeply divided, some shred of generous civility must be a religious concern of all of us.

In July each year we remember the complex life of St. Ignatius of Loyola on his feast day, July 31. Surely, he has some wisdom to share with us? Ignatius, who experienced the horrors of a real battlefield, and was wounded there was famous for believing that we should strive to “find God in all things.” I understand that he once said this jewel of a sentence, “He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.”

I need a quiet moment or two to feel the presence of THE ONE who is both the source and purpose of my life.

In our divided country we could certainly use a little bit of God’s presence, a brief respite from strife, a little bit of heaven wherever we go. It seems a paradox. If God is everywhere and indeed is to be found in all things, why do I feel the necessity to carve out a space for God?
In fact, it does seem to me that I do have to withdraw from all the constant chatter and the preoccupation with the “next big thing” in order to turn my ear toward God speaking through the silence or in the gentle breeze. I need a quiet moment or two to feel the presence of THE ONE who is both the source and purpose of my life.

Maybe more silence, and more deep listening will yield in me a more reflective generous spirit, more conscious of God’s presence in unexpected places. Reflection on my own less-than-perfection each day, may bring me to the discovery of God even there. Maybe it will even produce better decision making.

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