"It is the Spirit that gives Life.” John 6:3
Life is the Spirit revealing itself as the flesh of Creation. It is the myriad of things arising from the womb of God, brought forth by the Word that was Body before the dawn. The signs of the Spirit are the marks life makes on the tissues of the body and the longings of the heart, and its experience is awe. And hidden in every moment of awe is the root of all wisdom, and its expression is prayer. Prayer is the Spirit blessing life. Awe is the prayer of the Spirit.
“And the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2
The Spirit carries the longing God has to be Life, to fill the longings of His creatures with Himself. The Spirit is the flame of this longing hidden in the silent spaces between our cells and the moment before every thought. It is an experience of being helplessly lost in the bright suddenness of eternity flashing through our deepest pain and our most joyful moments, gone in an instant and lasting forever. The Spirit has no name other than Holy so that it might proclaim every name as belonging to the Word of God.
Spirituality is a knowing formed in the flame of the Spirit. It is a fire burning bright in the wound of Life, making all Life a revelation. Spirituality is the breath of the Spirit that emerges as living.
The Spirit is neither dogma nor doctrine, but is the unending revelation of all that doctrine and dogma proclaim. For the Spirit seeks that which is condemned, accused, and humiliated- the adversity that Man erects from his fears, and the walls that become the boundary and limits of all of his truths. The Spirit seeks out every constraint in our hearts, and allows us to love without limits or conditions.
This the Spirit does so that Grace will rest upon each of the day’s moments and all of its events, making the world a song of every sacrifice, a witness to every mercy, and the redemption of every love in longing. Living is the liturgy of the Spirit, and the World is its sacrament.
Just as the Word brings forth the myriad of things beyond knowing and beyond counting, so it is the Spirit that hovers over all of Creation. It holds a spacious Joy and an irresistible power, fills every shadow with the promise of light, speaks in the words of every consolation, and the proclaiming of every truth. The Spirit is God’s Joy celebrating the worthiness of every creature and the beauty of all their comings and goings; it is the grandeur of earth and all of its horizons.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth” Job 38:4
Only Man has been given the Grace of recognizing the beauty of the incomprehensible, of all that he holds most true and knows with the greatest certainty. Only Man can follow the Word of God and the fire of the Spirit into the incomprehensible to discover Life. Only Man feels the moment of its self-giving Mystery, the grasp of its promise, the touch of its vision.
For Man, life is a journey. The purpose of this journey is to make the earth one with his own flesh and deliver it to God. But for this to happen, Man must bless the work of God, and bless all of his own works with God’s blessings, so that the journey itself be filled at every turn with the vastness of God’s Presence and purpose.
The Spirit goes before us on this journey; and leads us into life by the awesome beauty of the Mystery, its incomprehensible and irresistible beingness, its passionate desiring embrace, its gift of Self. When first we have learned to live with the Mystery and see ourselves as its sanctuary, its sacrifice and its and lover, then we may turn over all of Creation along with ourselves to God, just as Jesus the Christ did when rising to Life from the passion of death.
”In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
We are not observers but participants,
made of the dust of stars, formed
in the crucible of color and sound,
quickened in the whisper of
Spirit that ever hovers over the
Waters of the first Day’s irresistible
Moment. This is our place and our
Time - now and forever.
Man’s story begins with Creation. This is not a moment in time, but the time of all moments. It is untraceable and leaves no track. The globe of Creation is not flat, beginning here and ending there. You can move from one point to another but never come to the end; It has no destination so it is everywhere at the same time.
The Beginning is not a statement about time, does not even refer to time- it is that which contains all time. The Beginning is the womb of Divine intention; a living vastness filled with the breath of God that impregnates the measureless horizons with the Waters of birth and the Fire of Life. It is the Alpha and Omega, the fulfillment of every creature’s purpose and every creature’s promise, conceived and born into God’s persistent intimacy. The Beginning is pure anticipation and is the cause of all being; it is the love of God flowing through the moments of every beginning.
“…and God said..” Gen 1:3
Creation is not pieces of things made up of pieces of other things.
It is not little blocks stacked on top of other little blocks until it’s big enough to be a mountain, a tree, or a man.
The dark chaos, the Emptiness and Void that is the earth in its eternal Beginning, is the same emptiness and void that is the fertile Word of Life hidden in every event. It is the desert, the wilderness from which God speaks to us; it is the living Word calling Creation forth from the Unknown to become life’s first Dawn and its persistent meaning. A silent beckoning that fills the World with endless Beginnings and breathless promises.
It is the summons that we call Life, the gentlest of commands that gleams in the void before ever a moment was born, a whisper that brings the cell to the womb and the child to its mother. It is the Word of God.
”In the Beginning was the Word..” Jn 1:1
The Word of God is the summons to Man. The summons to be, to be more than the dust of the stars and the breath of the wind- the Word of God is the word to which all other names belong- it is I- I am. “I” will belong to you as it belongs to Me, so that I might be in you and you might be in Me, says the Lord. This belonging is the web upon which Creation is woven and the only thing to which we are born.
”That they may be One as we are One” Jn 17:22
As in a heartbeat, the blood streaming out, emptying itself for the sake of the body, and again receiving of the body’s fullness as its heart filsl once again -- in this beating of the heart there is something Other, something not visible but intimate and close, something that holds the heart in its grasp. It is here that the great mystery of Life as living, and Death as dying, is resolved forever in the Other.
In the womb of the Other, every creature feels the irresistible impulse of Life to be clothed with living and born into the fertile waters of longing, a reaching out that goes beyond every path and every purpose. In this, every creature knows something that cannot be known, and lives a Life beyond living.
All that exists, exists in and of this Other which contains All in All- but does not subjugate it. There can be seen no point of separateness, nothing which is ultimately This nor That. Yet when we look closely we see that this Oneness is the mystery of every meeting, every embrace- it is always two being One in the love of the other.
Life is a longing for itself, for all that it Is. The desire of Two to be One, and to become Two again so that Oneness can be known- always One in love, yet distinct these Two. This is the meaning of the Sacred, the meaning of the Holy. This Other is that for which the heart beats- the Word made flesh of all flesh.
And the Word was made flesh… Jn 1:14
In the Beginning, Life becomes flesh, becomes sensual- this is the mystery revealed in the fiery moment of our own conception. This is the mystery of the Word Incarnate, God become Body. The flesh of Creation can be touched, heard, smelled, tasted, and expresses itself in great joyousness with the impulse all love has to be two rather than one so that Oneness can be discovered and life’s long journey will always be a journey of love. Know that we two are One, and are called ‘you and I’.
From horizon to horizon is the vast space of a star-born cosmos. The Beginning hovers over the bright dreams of a child, so that the child can become Mankind.
The beginning and the end.
Not the beginning here and
ending there, but the time before
time, where nothing prevails,
is not this nor that,
has no qualities.
The fruit hidden within the seed
and the seed within the fruit.
It is the pulse beating in the heart of Creation,
The coming forth, living of the living and the dying
of the living – it is fulfillment
and fruition, the Divine
Presence – Life.
Eternal- not everlasting, for nothing
Life, this crucible of change and
transformation, this visibility of
birth, growth and death-
not living opposed to death, but
Life – the Divine enfoldment. The
fullness of all which lives and dies, bearing
Life eternally. The Beginning does not start
with Creation; it contains it-
it is before and within all
that can be.
Man himself is a manifestation of this willful Creation, unable to extricate himself from its finality, its ruthless and gentle completeness. He is drawn again and again to its unconditional affirmation, though he is often too reluctant and impatient to hear its simple message. All change, the fecundity of growth and the sacredness of unfolding, life embracing death so that it can be Life, is the leaven hidden in the usual and the ordinary, the near and the known. The unpresuming life of each day passes with its lessons often unseen, lessons that then emerge as longings, pain, and hope.
Man is the reluctant phenomena.
The objects he creates to serve him turn to
ashes in his hand, and all his attempts
to master the events that surround him
turn into forces over which he has no control;
everything he names becomes a stranger,
even his own name is not his own,
but was given to him by others.
He searches a universe for meaning,
only to lament, as each of his
discoveries passes into shadow and
fades into that which he calls history.
A victim of time, he works with the
restless certainty that nothing he builds
will withstand, and that eternity
is beyond his grasp.
The most intimate moments
of his life are mysterious events
which he didn’t anticipate until
they were upon him, appearing out of
a vastness over which he had
no control, leaving only the
faintest trace of clinging
He attempts over and over to master
that which is mastering him. He is
impatient and insecure because even his
greatest passions fragment into a kaleidoscope
of sounding mirrors, and confusing
But in Creation, Man is the
solution, not the problem-
He fears his life is meaningless
because its meaning is found only
in the inconceivable immensity that is God,
an inscape in which every being
and every event remains
pristine, irrevocable, and infinitely near.
Man is the very expression of life –
this he is, but does not recognize.
His essential response is awe –
this is his experience, but he does not
Recognizing and remembering,
he sees who he is,
being and wondering, he lives what he is.
It is such for all, no solutions, only the
brightness of dreams.
No answers, only
the endless embrace of Mystery.
Man lives, this is enough-
being forever in love.
“I will give thanks unto Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Ps. 139:14-15
And the greatest revelation of them all is the body discovering itself as the child of the Divine, born of the Sacred Body, alive in its eternal embrace; this exaltation of Life, this celebration of Being- this ultimate desire of God to be fulfilled in flesh and bone. For the only thing in the universe that can hold the light of Grace within its earthy chambers is this body, this creation, this glory of the flesh. Here it becomes the worthiness and dignity of all that arises from yearning, and breathing, needing and knowing.
“And Adam gave to all names…” Gen. 2:20
Man experiences life as filled with meaning. Meaning confers dignity upon his experiences; it is the wisdom of his flesh and the way of the world. The child gazes in wonder at his first sight of the myriad of things, that by him, one by one, shall be named; and by that, all shall have meaning. Every word he utters, every name he uses, is the meaning he gives to some event or creature that has emerged from the womb of the Word- and by every word and every name these things will be known.
The first Grace to appear before any other, is the gift of naming, a priestly consecration in which the nearness of life is clothed with identity, and identity with meaning. It starts as the small sounds of the newborn that cry out to the world to tell of life discovered. Words are the names we give things and are the secret language of relationship. Life knows itself by its names, knows itself by its relationships. Life calls itself I and Thou- the language of God.
Life is a sacrament. It gives of itself everything. And in this it receives its abundance.
Everything belongs to it.
Nothing can withstand it. Nothing can be a separate part of anything else. For every thing reflects wholeness, not part-ness.
This wholeness is hidden to the eye, for Creation brings forth from within itself the nobility of the flesh that claims its own identity, while its Being is shrouded in the bright darkness of the Divine.
If we track the ways in which a life expresses itself, whether as an atom, a plant, or a human being, we soon discover that its path, where it came from and where it is going to, becomes lost in the timeless promise of its own infinite longings and endless beginnings, lost in the fiery point of God’s desire. Its origins are the all-pervasive simplicity of love hidden in Eternal Becoming.
The hidden and invisible wholeness of every event and every being is its lack of true limits, its lack of definitive boundaries, and therefore its lack of independence -- its inability to be of and for itself alone. The myriad of things, and all things, are created in Oneness and out of Oneness, yet Oneness always expresses itself as two and is witness to the two that then is three; and the breadth and depth of the Three is multiplied in every one so that Oneness of the Trinity can unfold as Creation.
We can only speak of the images and responses things create as they participate in Life. This is the limit of our science, its truest witness is the Spirit and its greatest response is reverence.
The very being of form
is the limitless Presence
is the clearest vision
of true being
The eye can see this Presence only as relationship, only in the relatedness of all its manifestations, can only know this Presence as Spirit, and only know this Spirit through belonging.
As we experience the need to breathe, to be nurtured, to be love, so we see the web of relatedness as simple and sacred.
Everything gives of itself, gives from the wealth of its Beginnings. Unlimited, uninhibited, unceasingly: and through this, is itself unlimited, uninhibited, and unceasing. And in this, all is complete, all is fulfilled.
Machines function by way of their parts.
Each part separate, made to fit the next.
Some parts made up of smaller parts.
Bits and pieces of something else, put together to be something else and all to have a completely different function then that of which it is made.
Creation has no function.
Creation does not make machines.
Is not made up of parts.
It lives its fullness in each of Its Places, each of Its Moments.
It is this One as many
And the many knowing themselves as One.
David Russell OFS San Xavier del Bac