My Transcendent Rock

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matt 7:25

It’s easy to feel out of control, to feel not so sure of things, now more than ever. Yet God’s peace triumphs. While I shelter in place, it is as if I am watching the wind deal out blow after blow, issuing chaos to everything it touches. Still, I feel that firm rock beneath my feet, holding me steady.

The current stillness of the Earth is strangely beautiful. Nevertheless, there is great distress within this stillness. I think God likes to make use out of contradictions such as this. We don’t always understand how to balance justice with mercy, or how a virgin could be a mother, or how God became man. His ways transcend our ways.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:9.

His transcendent wisdom means that mere human institutions will always disappoint, as long as God is outside their purview. Socialism and capitalism are both as immoral as their participants. Church and state are equally incompetent. World peace is just fascism in disguise. But with God at the helm, suddenly true peace is possible.

I believe we are entering a time of revelation. While most Catholics have accepted the Church closures and service cancellations, there are some who feel as though their religious liberty is at stake, that the bishops are complicit with an evil government conspiracy. However, God’s ways are above our ways and we don’t need to receive Jesus in the Eucharist physically in order to receive Him spiritually. We’re not being deprived of the grace.

Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27. He gave us the sacraments for our benefit to meet us in our human understanding, but His distribution of grace does not require external ritual. God only requires an open disposition to receiving His grace. Our openness is all He needs to work within us. He doesn’t need water for baptism, or a priest for absolution, or a physical reception of the Eucharist in order to become spiritually present in someone’s soul. He is using this time to show us that. He is revealing our own selves to us, forcing us to make the extra effort to reflect more on receiving Him, to reach out to loved ones, to be available to others who need our help.

Some have expressed feeling a deeper connection with their loved ones through a computer screen than they had in our pre-pandemic society. And just as our relationships with each other begin to flower and produce fruit, the Earth is likewise healing itself. Pollution is clearing from the air and the water, ecosystems are rebuilding, and the ozone layer is repairing itself, making it all the clearer that God is here in the midst of it all, calling us to a Franciscan Spirituality. Like St. Francis of Assisi, we may experience outward poverty, but are brimming with love and compassion extending across the globe. We are called now to find God in nature, to give to the poor, to turn against the status quo, and to trust in His providence. It is no coincidence that this is all happening during Lent, during Springtime, a time of rebirth. While we can’t be in God’s physical presence at Mass, He is in fact physically present all around us. We can feel Him in the warm Spring rain. We can hear Him in the birds’ singing. We can see Him in the cherry trees as they begin to flower as if to say, “See, I am doing something new.”

He is our Rock, holding us in place, in order to bring about a newness of life.



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