Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All that Glitters

"The more hidden the divine operation beneath an outwardly repulsive appearance, the more visible it is to the eye of faith."- Abandonment to Divine Providence

Thus begins the section I am reading AGAIN from this book that I read almost two years ago when returning back to DC. And to which I say:

"I beg to differ, Jean- Pierre! I beg to differ!"

For how can this even be? The more hidden something is the more visible it is? And in something 'Outwardly Repulsive??'

Um...I have two things to say to our author*:

1.) I only like pretty things, thank you.

2.) you don't understand how 'hidden' works, do you?

Now, I get that there is hidden beauty in "outwardly repulsive" things. (I am a lover of reality TV, after all! There are life lessons in 'the Flavor of Love', I tell you...Life. Lessons.)

But I think de Caussade is talking about THIS kind of hidden beauty (in fact, I know so 'cause he wrote):

" the sight of God, poor and humble, lodged in a stable, lying on straw, weeping and trembling, pierced the heart of Mary..." (ATDP, p 21-22)

I get it. The kind of beauty that Mother Teresa saw in the lepers of India. The kind of beauty that we see in a piece of bread or a host. Indeed.

But my question for our author and for God is: what about God's presence in neither extreme? Neither the glamour and glistening of the Transfiguration nor the repulsion of the Cross?

Is God present in...dare I say... the ordinary?

Somewhere a diva a la Blanche DeVeRoe or Samantha Jones (because the Golden Girls and Sex and the City characters are exactly the same just give or take 20 years) is gasping:

"Oh, no! Not ORDINARY, darling!"
Ordinary is not in Samantha's vocabulary. Only fabulous.

But can we be ordinary AND fabulous?

Of course our author has an answer for everything:

"To consider God equally good in things that are petty and ordinary as in those that are great and uncommon is to have a faith that is not ordinary, but great and extraordinary." (p22)

So there it is! If we can find God in the ordinary that means we have extraordinary faith! I don't know about you, but this gave me great consolation. 'Cause while I do have extra-ordinary friends (as I mentioned previously!), formative experiences, etc. these things are neither flashy nor extravagant nor are they 'outwardly repulsive'.

It IS easier to see and KNOW God's will when He comes down a la Mount Tabor and is gleaming and transfigured in gold with a booming voice saying: "THIS IS MY SON":
Not so much when looking at host on an altar.

Or not as much when just going to the office. Or a class. Or outlet shopping...

That's not fair, outlet shopping is extra-ordinary ;)

But you get my drift. And I offer you more of de Cassaude's message of hope in the present:

"Pursue without ceasing...this beloved Spouse who with giant strides passes from one extremity of the heavens to the other. If you be content and untiring, nothing will have power to hide Him from you..."

I like the image of God leaping around heaven with giant strides...and that thing about 'nothing will have power to hide Him from you'.

But its true, we go from one extreme to the next and don't give much credit to the everyday where we live 95% of our lives ( give or take your level of extra-ordinari-ness!)

And according to de Caussade, finding God in the ordinary IS extraordinary. Which makes gives me consolation and motivation to not give up finding God in the everyday.

* "the book" is win- as if you couldn't tell- even 2 years later. I don't mean to mock the author in anyway. I am indebted to his thoughts! ;)


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