Monday, February 16, 2009

“Where Are You?”

It’s one of the perennial questions we ask ourselves throughout the whole of life, as we live and sweat and work out our salvation, both as individuals and as a human family – “Where am I? Where are we?” We look into the deep pool of our human experience (again, as individuals and as a human family), and we hope that we find an answer in our reflection. We hope that we are where we are “supposed to be.” We hope we are happy, at peace, at home with ourselves. Too often, though, we discover that we are exiles. We are, for all of our efforts at settling down, strangers in a strange land. Nomads…. homo viator – man on the journey. How did it come to this? When we look to the book of Genesis we find the answer, and we discover the golden key to finding our way back home as well. God’s plan from the beginning was that we find our home in His Heart – that we find our peace in His Will. That Will, that Eternal Heart, is the model for every person, every family, and every home; it’s a will and a heart for others, for a community of Love and Communion. A place where there is a vibrant exchange of self-giving that moves always in the perfection of the circle. This Love is the dance, the whirlwind that feeds the Other and at the same time is fed by the Love of that Other. God laid out the blueprint for this Dynamic of Love in the Garden of Eden. To the first man and the first woman, created naked in a garden paradise, He spoke the first commandment – “Be fruitful and multiply!” (Notice the lack of any thou shalt not ’s in this directive, by the way). This command is a joy-filled call to Love as God loves! It has the same ring to our ears as that first word given after a bride and groom pledge their love at the altar – “Kiss the bride!” This call to be fruitful and multiply, to give and receive each other completely as a gift, holds within it the key to the question “Where am I?” The answer is, or should be, I am in You. And you are in me. Isn’t this the last wish of the true Bridegroom before He laid down His love on the altar of the Cross for us? “As the Father has loved me, so I love you. Live on in my love.” Our founding father and mother, Adam and Eve, were invited into this dance of self-giving love. But through fear and mistrust, or pride and a grasping at self-autonomy, they failed to step to that Rhythm, to let go and let God take them up and away. After the fall, Genesis tells us, they cover up in shame the very signs of that self-giving love that God called them too, stamped right into their bodies. And through fear, they hide from God. Times are hard, and suffering comes in varied forms for us all. We wonder where we are, where we've been, where we're going. We often retreat to the shadows in our minds, shadows made darker by the abuse of power around us, or by the failure of love to save us. We question God. "Where are You?" I wonder though if the question is misdirected. Has He moved, or been removed by our lack of faith? In Genesis, the first question God asks our first parents after they betray Him is "Where are You?" It is not for His sake that He asks, for He sees all. God asks the question for them, huddled in the dark, so that they can speak it to themselves and step out into the Light again. "Where am I?" Adam and Eve unveil their fear as a reason for hiding from God. Is it fear that locks us in today? Fear in its many splintered forms? Speak it. Step out and make it known. His mercy pours forth in Genesis 3:15, for He is a Loving Father, and we are promised a Redeemer. What door will open for us today, if we just take the time to ask this question of questions? Perhaps opening up to the question will lead us back into the Answer, into that Circle of Love again, that Garden enclosed? For perfect love casts out all fear... and in love we find our way home.
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