Friday, 29 May 2009

Meeting God in Crash-diving

There’s a fascinating and amusing competition in which people attempt to achieve un-powered flight. No engine is allowed. Nor can the pilot be raised from the ground by a balloon or towed aloft, like a glider. All he can use is his own energy and ingenuity to get him off the ground and keep him in the air.

And so on TV we see weird and wonderful bird-men, with wings strapped to their backs, as they charge along a cliff top or jetty and leap over the edge –only to plunge ignominiously into the sea.

Let’s face it. We are not designed to fly. We don’t have wings, and those we may strap on our backs and flap can’t really enable us to fly like a bird. We are too heavy to fly without a powerful engine or a balloon to lift us from the ground and keep us in the air. We have to accept that in ourselves we are earth-bound.

These reflections reminded me that God is way beyond the reach of our creaturely limitations. By ourselves we can’t begin to draw close to him. Not that he’s high up in the sky and we don’t have the wings to fly up and reach him. The God of glory transcends our human, creaturely nature, so there’s an infinite gulf between his mode of existence and ours, between the creator and the creature.

And yet the wonderful thing is that God has empowered us to rise above our human limitations to share his own life and happiness. Theologians call this, ‘gratia elevans,’ –elevating grace. This gives us an inner dynamism, a divine vitality, energising us to soar upwards to God himself.

This is both exciting and humbling. Exciting, because it means that we can soar like a bird to be at home with God. Humbling, because we realise that we need God to raise us above our human limitations to share his divine life. With his assistance we cease to be mere earth bound-creatures and become his children, sharing his divine life.

Seeing on TV the futile attempts at un-powered human flight has taught me to accept my human limitations. But God has given me wings, which enable me to soar upwards on the thermals of his love. For that I am eternally grateful.

These musing came to me as I reflected on the feast of Pentecost. I realised that it’s the Holy Spirit who lifts us up on the thermals of divine love. Through the Holy Spirit we enter into the intimate life of the Blessed Trinity as we become God’s children and share his life. And it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the courage and eloquence to share the Good News we have received.

The birdmen’s futile attempts to fly made me realise that before we can reach God we must first recognise that we are earthbound. Only when we’ve accepted our limitations and have stopped trying to go it alone will the Holy Spirit be able raise us beyond our wildest dreams.

Isidore O.P.

Next week Peter will meet God in bargain hunting.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, inspiring. Loved it!
    Happ feast day tomorrow!
    Rose Ann