Faith: Deep cries out to deep
Would it seem odd to you if I suited up in scuba gear and then simply floated around on the surface of the water?
Would it be kind of strange if I put on a parachute and jumped from a plane sitting on the ground?
How about this? I get my fishing boat all geared up, put on my life vest, and sit in my driveway fishing. Strange?
I know, I know. What are you getting at Father Ryan?
God equips us with all the gear necessary to live life to the fullest and obtain eternal life. Yet, I often find myself on the surface when God is calling me deeper. I sit on the ground when the Lord is inviting me to fly high. I look ridiculous fishing in the driveway and not in deep water.
Saint Teresa of Avila is a mystic saint from the sixteenth century. She wrote the great spiritual classic The Interior Castle. In chapter one, she compares the soul to a castle. "I thought of the soul as resembling a castle, formed of a single diamond or a very transparent crystal, and containing many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. If we reflect, friends, we shall see that the soul of the just one is but a paradise, in which, God tells us, He takes delight." God delights to dwell in you as his castle.
Do we realize how precious we are to God? Do we reflect and meditate on the beauty and truth of who we are; created in the image and likeness of God, and hence that God dwells within us?
Saint Teresa's words hold true and challenge us still today. "It is no small misfortune and disgrace that, through our own fault, we neither understand our nature nor our origin. Would it not be gross ignorance, my friends, if, when a man was questioned about his name, or country, or parents, he could not answer? Stupid as this would be, it is unspeakably more foolish to care to learn nothing of our nature except that we possess bodies, and only to realize vaguely that we have souls." Are we going to the depths or heights of who we truly are and who dwells within us?
She continues, "Rarely do we reflect upon what gifts our souls may possess, Who dwells within them, or how extremely precious they are. Therefore we do little to preserve their beauty; all our care is concentrated on our bodies, which are but the coarse setting of the diamond, or the outer wall of the castle."
Sound familiar? Nothing new today my friends. Sixteenth century folks were like us. Will we heed the call to the depths of the goodness in us? Will we realize we are temples of the Holy Spirit? How am I caring for my soul?
Imagine if we really, and I mean really, started to go to the depths of who we are and find God truly dwelling within us. It would cause us to realize, that the Lord also dwells deep within others. Might this change how we treat ourselves? Might this change how we treat others?
This next line strikes a chord in my own heart and life. "We will now think of the others who at last enter the precincts of the castle; they are still very worldly, yet have some desire to do right, and at times, though rarely, commend themselves to God's care. They think about their souls every now and then; although very busy, they pray a few times a month, with minds generally filled with a thousand other matters, for where their treasure is, there is their heart also." Strike a chord? It rings true for me most often.
It is a call to go deeper. To spend more time. To focus more. It is a choice I need to make and act on. Lord, help me go deeper. Lord, lift me higher. Help me let You.
"Let us imagine, as I said, that there are many rooms in this castle, of which some are above, some below, others at the side; in the centre, in the very midst of them all, is the principal chamber in which God and the soul hold their most secret intercourse."
Yes, Saint Teresa, let us imagine.
May God bless you and may Jesus Christ be praised.