Sunday, April 30, 2017

the limits of our understanding

Today in A Year with the Church Fathers, we hear from St. Cyril of Jerusalem. He tells us about the limits of our ability to comprehend God, and what we should do since we can't fully.

He tells us that even though we can't comprehend God entirely, we should still contemplate Him as much as we are able. He says that even though we can't drink a whole river or eat all of the fruit in the orchard, that doesn't mean we shouldn't drink some or eat some. So it is with God... we can never fully comprehend Him, but St Cyril says that He does delight in our contemplating what we're able to understand.

And so it is with the road we're walking, isn't it? I mean, Merton sums it up pretty well in his prayer in the picture above. Some of you may have a pretty good idea where you're going. But as for myself and many of my friends, we're with Merton. We have little or no idea if what we're doing is "what God is calling us to". We can't see the road ahead of us, and we have lots of uncertainty about whether our lives are pleasing Him or not.

But Merton and St Cyril agree on the fact that even though we DON'T have it all (or much of it) figured out, it pleases God for us to walk in what light we DO have. To figure out as much as we're able, and then to trust Him with the rest. His ways aren't our ways, and His thoughts aren't our thoughts. So when we truly commit ourselves to following Him, I guess we will often find ourselves saying and doing things we ourselves don't understand. We will walk roads that seem to make no sense to us. This is especially true when our "right hand doesn't know what our left hand is doing." If our very limbs are at a loss as to their motives, how can we put it all together in our minds?

So, my friends, be encouraged when your road is dark. When you're uncertain about your way. As Tolkien told us, not all who wander are lost. Some of us wander all over the place, but we're following the One who has made all of creation... we can't be lost when we're in the home He made for us.

God, thank You for helping us follow You... even in the darkness.