"And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here."
~ St Augustine
"Does not Wisdom call, does not understanding raise her voice? ...Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right." (Proverbs 8:1,6)
Complete truth – for here at the intimate cross is a man in whom there is no falsehood, and God exists completely. And even in this scene, one intuits somehow that life itself emanates from death, and is the reason for the cross. Life you can access.
You cannot not live in the presence of God. You are totally surrounded by God all the time and everywhere. You have no choice in the matter, except to bring it to consciousness. St. Patrick said it well in the prayer attributed to him:
God beneath you,
God in front of you,
God behind you,
God above you,
God within you.
You cannot earn this God by any practice whatsoever. You cannot prove yourself worthy of this God. Knowing God’s presence is simply a matter of awareness, of fully allowing and enjoying the present moment.~~~
Creator God, When you became one of us in the person of Jesus, we believe that you made the most powerful statement of all time. You speak with deeds -we speak in words. In becoming one of us, you said "If you want to know what I look like in your world, look at people." People are the most profound expression of God in our world of space and time. And so human beings, each in a unique and most precious way -not by what they do or what they say, but simply by their presence - makes a statement unique to him or herself about God.
If this be true, at this, the start of a new year, we ask that we as individuals and as a nation commit ourselves to respecting the God in every human being, no matter how cleverly each has disguised him. Help us so to respect one another that war and violence become as antiquated as dinosaurs. In our highly complicated world, awaken us to the wisdom of the prophet. "There is only one thing God asks of you. This alone, to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God."
Spoiler alert: if you want to know what the Apocalypse is about, I will happily summarize it for you in two words: God wins. The longer version is that no matter how mighty and oppressive earthly powers may be and no matter how dire the plight of the faithful may be, the victory is ultimately God's and those who hold fast to God and remain faithful will share in God's victory. All the rest, as they say, is commentary.
This is a book written from a pastoral perspective to people in times of persecution and affliction, a book designed to strengthen faith and give hope, a book that calls us all to repent and turn from the ways and values of the world and hold fast to God.