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Where is God?: Weekly Newsletter for 02-08-2022
Faith, Hope, and Love abide, these three… (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Dear Friends in Christ,
I recently led a group of seminarians through a course on western civilization from the year 1200 through the French Revolution. Like all human history, it’s a tumultuous period, full of fits and starts and promises apparently unfulfilled. As we explored the ups and downs in the Church and in society, one of our leitmotifs came from Gerard Manley Hopkin’s magnificent poem “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” which ends with these words:
“Christ plays in ten thousand places/Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his/To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”
Together we attempted to see Christ present in those ten thousand places – and it’s remarkable what the eyes of our hearts can see when we really look.
This, it seems to me, is what faith accomplishes. Faith is not a vague irrational feeling that “somehow it will all work out.” On the other hand, faith is not a cold calculation by which we reduce God to a tidy idea or a divine problem solver. Rather faith is a relationship: passionate, intense, and at times difficult, in which we continually entrust ourselves to the Lord, whose goodness and kindness we know. Faith is a response of our whole person – mind, heart, will – to the living God who gives himself to us continually. And as we entrust ourselves to the Lord, we begin to share in his vision of our lives and of human history. History becomes salvation history.
All this enables us, in the Holy Spirit, to glimpse Christ and the Father always at work (John 5:17); and we also know that “many things greater than these lie hidden, for we have seen but few of his works” (Sirach 43:32).
What might that mean for me, today? How is the Lord inviting me to entrust myself, and others, to his love once again? Because yesterday, today, and forever, “Christ plays in ten thousand places/Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his/To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”
May you always see Christ at work.
Fr. John Pietropaoli