Divine Play

Divine Play

One of the gifts of ageing is retrospection.

We look back on the patterns in our life and see the way God has played with us, always taking us to a larger place of faith.

We see the winters that turned into spring growth, loss that made way for a new kind of, gain, steep hills that gave us a better view, crucifixions that turned into resurrections.

These patterns were all about spiritual growth.

We realise with wonder and gratitude, that the soul comes into incarnation to grow, and the Sacred Presence is our teacher.

Sometimes, though, we can feel the loss so severe, we wonder if we will survive.

I reflect on times of loss when I’ve wanted to blame someone or something, and being unable to do that, have wished I could believe in a spirit of evil.

However, belief in a spirit of evil made God too small for me.

I felt helpless.

Looking back, I see the pain of loss as divine play at work.

It was God’s way of emptying me in order to make room for something new. I now call it the giving of the left hand of God.

To put it another way, I believe we’re continuously guided in faith, to a larger place. And some of that guidance we would rather not have.

What else does age teach me?

The importance of forgiveness.

Every negative judgement is a burden I have to carry, and that slows me down.

We also learn not to worship words. Words are created by humans to contain order.

The word God is no more God than the word sea is the ocean. As St Augustine of Hippo points out it is the effect of that simple three-letter word that conveys vast meaning going beyond words

Sr Augustine wrote:  “What happened in your heart when you heard “God”? What happened in my heart when I was saying “God.”

“Something great and supreme occurred in our mind. It soars utterly above and beyond every  changeable, carnal and merely natural creature…”

“So what is that thing in your heart when you are fixing your mind on some substance that is living, everlasting, infinite, almighty, everywhere, whole and entire, nowhere confined?

When you fix your mind on all this, there is a word about God in your heart.

Try St Augustine’s method of prayer. It works. The word “God” can be a gateway to something so great it cannot be described.

I like to do the same with words from the Mass that can become blunt with repetition or get made into idols.

Free these words with prayer!

As St Augustine suggests, we let responses freely fill our mind, and then take those words to feeling in the heart.

That’s when we experience divine play and the presence of the Mystery we call “God.”

Perhaps the greatest spiritual gift of age is the sense of Oneness. We lose judgemental thinking and divisions disappear. We know that the Creator is everywhere and in everything and will never be separate from us.

We are at home in those beautiful words from Psalm 139.

Where can I escape from your spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there.

If I descent into Sheol, You are there.

If I take wing at dawn and come to rest

on the Western horizon,

even there Your hand will guide me,

Your right hand will hold me close.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.


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