1 Kings 17:7-16
"You are the light of the world." – Matthew 5:14
Thomas Merton had a sudden insight on the corner of 4th and Walnut Streets in Louisville, Kentucky. He was stunned with a deep realization that every person walking on the street was "shining like the sun."
Each of us has an inner radiance of Spirit. Yet few of us realize it. We so often seek God in the distant and beyond. Generally we imagine God looking down upon us from heaven. Thomas Berry makes the observation that this identification of the Divine as transcendent to the natural world negates the natural world as the place where we can meet God.
In a lecture to his novices, Thomas Merton asserted: "Men, before you can have a spiritual life, you’ve gotta have a life!" According to Merton, the spiritual life is not about scrambling toward another realm of existence or bypassing what is at hand. Similarly, Meister Eckhart put forth the proposal: "If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created." Both mystics are telling us to stop fighting with reality and do something more difficult – embrace the life we have. Reality, including one’s own being, radiates the divine.
Fr. Joe Mitchell, CP is the director of the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center in Louisville, Kentucky. See his website: http://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/