Saturday, September 26, 2015

the ground of our being

Today's readings: Isaiah 48:12-50:11, Eph 4:17-32, Psalm 69:1-18, Proverbs 24:5-6

For the first three decades of my life, I always looked behind the surface to find what was behind, or beneath, everything. And for those three decades, I believed I was finding something bad. No matter how nice someone is, or how great an organization seems, when you dig deep enough, you find what's REALLY down there... and it's not a good thing. Or so I thought.

It wasn't until I was a Jesuit novice that I realized my error. I was looking past the surface, and finding flaws. It's true. You won't find a human being who doesn't have sins and flaws hiding behind their mask of perfection. You won't find an organization that is 100% perfect, with nothing that they don't want everyone to see. There ARE flaws in every person and group.


I learned during my time in the Jesuits what Isaiah tells us today. He says "I alone am God, the First and the Last." What I realized was what Paul Tillich calls "the ground of our being". When you look past the surface charm, you find flaws. But THEN! You look beyond those flaws... and you find God. When you go past all of the everything in this universe, and you dig deeply enough, you find God.

And God is good.

You see how this shifts your perspective. If you believe that beneath every surface is darkness, if only you dig deep enough, your view of the world is intrinsically pessimistic.

But if you realize that God, who is NOTHING BUT GOOD, is beneath and behind and beyond everything we see... that makes you very happy and positive. You realize that the good does not go unrewarded, and the evil does not go unaddressed. God's love will be left when everything else is gone. And we can trust in that love.

Things will seem hard in our lives, and that's no illusion. They will BE hard sometimes. But we can trust in God, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. He will have the last say... He will make everything good. He will right all of the wrongs. His love will prevail.

You can count on that.

Thank You, God, for being the ground of our being.