Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Divine Circle of Light, Jamestown, NC
It’s been said that God is not so much to be seen as to be felt. In a recent interview, Pope Francis stated that “Finding God in all things is not an ‘empirical eureka’. When we desire to encounter God, we would like to verify him immediately by an empirical method. But you cannot meet God this way. God is found in the gentle breeze perceived by Elijah. The senses that find God are the ones St. Ignatius called spiritual senses. Ignatius asks us to open our spiritual sensitivity to encounter God beyond a purely empirical approach. A contemplative attitude is necessary: it is the feeling that you are moving along the good path of God and love of all things in God-this is the sign that you are on this right path”.
It’s not too hard to discern the Jesuit influence on this new pope. I too have felt the divine presence in the vocal breezes of Colorado’s Mesa Verde canyons and the solitude of my own backyard. Our biblical heart is characterized as one of our spiritual senses. Jesus illustrates this in the Beatitudes when he told the five thousand that the pure in heart were blessed, for “they will see God”. Hence, the expression that we can experience God with “the eyes of our heart”. And just as we need relationship with one another to be human, we need contact with God to be fully human.
Charles Wesley preached that our spiritual senses are the “inlets of spiritual knowledge”. Our intellectual senses such as rational and common sense can take us so far within the limits of the human mind and our emotional heart can extend our reach to the doorstep of faith. We may never fully know God, but we can know enough. One of humanity’s great thinkers, Blaise Pascal, observed that “We know truth not by reason only, but by the heart. The heart has its reasons which reason cannot know”. The ultimate paradox seems to be that we must seek God so that He will ultimately engage in divine self-disclosure, one human at a time.