God Never Holds Back
The other day I was reading a book of daily meditations by Fr. Thomas Keating and came across this remarkable line:
There is no possibility of God holding back.
I have been thinking about that line for a while now, and I discovered that while there is an aspect of Keating's assertion that thrills me, it also makes me feel hollow.
I feel like that last bit needs an explanation.
A part of me feels like God is always holding back. There's a lot wrong in this world that should be made right, and some days I feel God could do it if God so desired.
Millions of people need healing all over the world. People are dying of hunger all over the world. There are victims of violence everywhere, including in our cities and towns.
Not to mention the countless natural disasters that left thousands dead and tens of thousands homeless and helpless.
So yeah, it sure feels like God is holding back sometimes.
But there's something more to that quote from Fr. Keating that also thrills me because what Keating was talking about when he said that there's no holding back when it comes to God is simply this:
God never holds back God's presence.
A lot about how the Universe works is hard for us to understand. We can't explain what the Universe is all about, for starters. Most of it is unknown to us, not just the Universe that is out there beyond the gravitational pull of this planet we call Earth, but what is in here within us and around us.
So it's hard to explain why bad things happen to innocent people and why God doesn't seem to do anything to prevent these bad things.
I have come to understand that because God is love, God doesn't force Godself on Creation, allowing Creation (and us) to respond to God as we can, which is always imperfect.
Our choices affect ourselves, others, and even the world around us, but God lets us make those choices because God desires us to be free from coerced love.
But what Keating was trying to convey is that God never holds back God's presence from us, no matter what we do or what is done to us.
In fact, God's presence is all around us, in us, and through us. God's presence is the Universe and everything in it. God's presence is never far away from us, never leaves us, or forsakes us in times of trouble or triumph.
While we may rightly wonder why things happen, we never have to worry about being left alone to wonder. God is with us.
May you rest in the knowledge of God's presence and be willing to look around with fresh eyes to see it wherever your gaze rests. And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.