In The Impact of God, Iain Matthew explains that the proper understanding of emptiness requires a fundamental revision of how we perceive our own roles and our relationship to God. He writes, “our main job is not to construct but to receive; the key word will be not be so much ‘achievement’ as ‘space.’” We must make space for God in order to receive.
Iain Matthews points out that Christian progress means searching for the one who is giving joy to my life, who seems to believe in me, who makes me alive. In using the different images in his poetry, Saint John of the Cross emphasizes that our spiritual lives is not about forging a way, but about our getting out of the way. Iain Matthews writes, “Progress will be measured less by ground covered and more by the amount of room God is given to maneuver.” Therefore, space and emptiness are key words which are synonymous with what Saint John of the Cross means for nada, nada, nada.
We must rid ourselves of expectations that are not in alignment with how God is being present, is being active, is connecting and communicating, and which prevents us from even noticing His activity. He is always there constantly, in one way or another, and sometimes, He is more intensely felt than at other times. Even when He is present and manifesting Himself, but not according to our expectations, or even when we don’t recognize Him in our conscious awareness, we have the choice of celebrating the gift and the grace of that manifestation, rather than allowing ourselves to be taken under the rip roaring rapids of other fixations.
Attachment is primarily about attitude. Where is my heart? What is my heart clinging to? Therefore, it’s not about created things, as much as the desire to hold on to certain things. Those attachments don’t necessarily have to be about material things; it could be about interior attachments.
No thing. God cannot be tied down by created order. He’s not a creature and is not part of his creation but rather, He transcends time, space and even human concepts. Human concepts can point us in the direction of what God has revealed about Himself. Right reason enlightened by faith can point us to a relationship with the true reality of God. But ultimately, that reality of love transcends anything that can be tied down. That reality of love is Somebody who is infinite.
Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All Rights Reserved
One thought on “Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Gettin’ Out of His Way”
I love these:
1. “’our main job is not to construct but to receive; the key word will be not be so much ‘achievement’ as ‘space.’” We must make space for God in order to receive.
2. “’Progress will be measured less by ground covered and more by the amount of room God is given to maneuver.’”
3. “Ultimately, that reality of love transcends anything that can be tied down. That reality of love is Somebody who is infinite.”
Fr Robert- Thank you for opening up these words of St John of the Cross for us!