Finding God in All Things: Second Sermon as a Jesuit Novice
I had the opportunity to share my second sermon as a Jesuit novice this past Friday. The Church takes the readings from Ephesians 4:1-6 and from Luke 12:54-59. Enjoy!
“God is over all and in all and through all.” Permit me to engage in a short moment of reminiscing. About two years ago at this time, a new teaching fell upon my ears, and it transformed my life. It was simple, yet touching. My spiritual director told me that I could “find God in all things.” At first, the idea smacked of pantheism, but, then, as the conversation continued, he won me over. The concept seemed almost magical, mystical, and, as I have long been a romantic, it fit well with my fascination with the sublime. The idea was gorgeous, but could I live it?
Shockingly, I could. As I descended the stairs and walked out into the street, love permeated everything. Each individual, despite his or her bleak clothing (it was winter in England), was God-like, made in His image and likeness. I skipped past the local Chinese restaurant and praised the smells that crept into my nose. The food at the dinner table that night was extra-delicious. This attitude has continued, though, I must say, sapped of the initial bout of intrigue, up until the present time. God still reveals Himself to me in both ordinary and extraordinary ways.
As far as I can tell, the crowds in this reading were just like me before the turning point I’ve just described. They hadn’t discovered that Jesus was truly “LORD OF ALL.” Perhaps they needed a good Jesuit spiritual director to guide them; or, more likely, they needed God to open their eyes to the epitome of His presence in the world: the person of Jesus Himself.
Inevitably, Christians go through various stages in their spiritual development. It is one thing to acknowledge that God is over all and in all and through all, and another thing to live in that truth. For this reason, St. Paul urges us to “live in a manner worthy of the call we have received.” Fundamental to such worthy living is humility, the virtue to which Jesus exhorts us in the second half of today’s gospel selection. In recent weeks we’ve heard such beautiful talks on humility within these walls that it would be unfit for me to elaborate on this theme excessively. Therefore, I’d merely like to share two short exhortations and points of reflection as a way to conclude this message.
First, are we more attuned to reading the appearance of the earth and sky or to interpreting the present time? In other words, do we recognize the pattern of the earth without recognizing the patterns of the earth’s maker? While it is certainly good to know scientific data and philosophical facts, it is even better to know the mind and the heart of the author of science and philosophy themselves.
Second, do we judge what is right in and of ourselves alone, or do we ask God to inspire us with His judgment regarding the difficult situations of our lives? Do we default to attitudes of mediocrity, of passive aggression or of plain malevolence when confronted with a conflict, or do we ceaselessly seek peace, unity of mind, and reconciliation, as both St. Paul and Jesus suggest?
Tasks such as the ones I’ve named are intimidating, and at times we may feel that we have neither the energy nor the willpower nor the love necessary to reflect on God or to work for peace. However, we can expect that our Lord will give us the grace necessary to accomplish His will, trusting even that He lives over US, in US, and through US.
Thanks for reading! Your comments and questions are very welcome.
David JW Inczauskis, nSJ