by Ken Rolheiser
God’s gentle nudges and our freedom

The Band Perry gives us a refreshing focus on life and meaning in “If I Die Young”. The “sharp knife of a short life” gives us much to ponder. The narrator asks if her words will be worth so much more after she is a “goner”? Will people start listening to her then?

Today I was pondering what life means after seventy-six years. How many hours I have spent in church worship, in theological classes and study! How much I have learned from my parents and from a very privileged upbringing that included a rural, cultured and sheltered German Catholic community.

I have had time to learn about the mysteries of life, of creation. My God, the blessings I have seen! When you are born on third base, don’t pretend that you hit a triple! To be born in this country is to start from privilege. To have had enough to eat and a roof over our heads is privilege.

To not wonder about whether there is a God is a blessing of Grace. To be in touch with what theologians have known for centuries is more of that privilege. You and I have a choice - will I journey through life with the comfort of Divine companionship, or will I ignore the gentle nudges of the God that loves me?

The seeds of truth can be seen in nature. Sit in the beauty; soak in the smells and tastes of creation. Revel in the good things God has given us. In “The God of our Desires” Father Ron Rolheiser says, “…all that we find attractive, beautiful, irresistible, erotic, and pleasurable here on earth is found, even more fully, inside of its source, God.”

He adds, “The beauties and pleasures of this life are a gift from God, meant to be enjoyed. But, by being aware of their source, we can also then be free enough to accept the very real limits that life puts on our desires. And, better still, we need not fear death since what we lose will be trumped one-hundredfold by what we gain.”

I thank my reader for indulging me in this philosophic rant I have taken us on. It has been an unusually hot summer, and in the heat of this hour my thoughts grow keen and clear, if I may borrow from Archibald Lampman.
A Church goer complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for thirty years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard 3,000 sermons, and I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs."
A wise man answered his query: "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals, but I do know this… If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" 

Seek the shade, dear reader. Escape the scorching heat: 
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1).

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