Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Of Dung and Divinization

Yes, that is cow dung - a nice, juicy pile. It's my symbol for all of the difficulties we deal with, from ourselves and others. I don't know anyone who likes feces, who would want to decorate their homes with it; but it's choice fertilizer. And as such, we can't do without it: it feeds the crops, which feed us and the livestock (that also, by the way, feeds us). I was reading a relfection in The Imitation of Christ when my mind turned to this topic:

We should regard contradictions as the trials by which God would prove and purify our love. If all persons had the consideration for us which our self-love desires, and which it often induces us to believe we deserve, we would entertain only a natural regard for our neighbor...a species of gratitude purely human...But God would have us everywhere meet with and suffer contradictions, disappointments, and opposition to our designs, from those with whom we live, that we might love them solely for His sake, and because He so ordained.

Happy the soul which tribulation tries, and temptation purifies, as gold is tried and purified in the fire! It thus becomes worthy of acceptance with God, for IT IS AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART!

The intra- and interpersonal trials we face are a continual invitation to hit our knees and ask God to enflame us with a Divine Love for others, to Love because we are of Love. We have "been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable" (1 Peter 1:23), "and made partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). That's right - we fragile human beings are called to complete immersion and cooperation in Jesus' Life with the Father and world. United to Jesus, the Holy Spirit flows through us in acts of love. That's what the Church has called divinization, deification, or theosis. And the conflicts we experience call us to show forth this Divine Love, to live a life that reaches beyond this world, even as it is firmly anchored in this world. That dung we're dealing with - it's meant to be fertilizer.

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