As human beings, we need to be open to the hungers of our soul. We need to be brave enough to turn toward the infinite depth of our questions. We need strength to engage the simple fact and sheer mystery of our existence.
How do we in fact acknowledge without fear the complex hungers for stability, love, meaning and purpose within us? Our inner life can seem, at times, to be like a nest of newly hatched birds—all of them calling to be fed.
Our heart is an infinite ocean of longing. Our soul is a restless being. Our mind is an inner creation whose work beggars the working of the universe itself. “Multiplying 100 billion neurons times 40,000 synapses is equivalent to the brain having more connections in it than there are stars in the universe.“ Look it up!
Our strength is often difficult to maintain in the face of the pressures of life. (I hope you hear in those previous sentences an echo of Jesus’ quotation of Deuteronomy: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…”)
How then do we marshal the energies to meet the wonder, depth and often, pain, of who we are?
To put it simply: We meet the wonder of who we are in the wonder of who God is. We meet the depth of our being in the depth and wonder of the revealed “I AM.” The unfolding wonder and depth of God is the womb of the depth and wonder of who we are. St. Peter goes so far as to say that we were brought into being “to be partakers of the nature of God!” (The exclamation mark is my own!)
The universe itself is the revelation of who God is. As Paul writes in Romans 1: “For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to [us], since God has made it plain to [us] ever since the creation of the world, the existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things” (New Jerusalem Bible). Indigenous peoples have always known this.
As we are drawn ever deeper in our quest for a place to stand within our bodies, within ourselves, within the world/cosmos we come to know, over time, we are likewise being drawn ever deeper into the Body of Christ. The hunger for stability, love, meaning and purpose is the hunger for Christ.
“He is the image (in Greek: “icon”) of the invisible God” (Colossians 1). Through Christ we see God, through Christ we see ourselves. We find our place to stand in Christ: “the light which enlightens everyone” who has come into the world.
The call of Christ has proven to be true for countless millions: “Come to me and you will find rest for your souls.” Eternal truth has been revealed within transitory, human life.
As you journey deeper into this new year and meet the hungers within yourself, know that you are also meeting Christ. Whether you have named the deepest hunger within yourself or not, your deepest hunger is for Christ. For it is through the Christ we see God. And if we take the Bible at all seriously, we come to see our very selves as we “look into” God, for we humans are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1: “Let us make humankind in our image.”)
As the power of this revealed truth begins to grace the perimeter of your thoughts the many voices of the many hungers within begin to soften. The restlessness, regret and fear which at one time seemed so strong within you begin to settle down. In Christ you have a place to stand as you meet this new year.
Out of the many voices will arise One Voice, out of the many fears will come One Courage: the Voice and the Courage of Christ. You will hear the Voice and you will be graced with Courage.
After all, the works of your own mind renewed in the Mind of Christ (again, St. Paul!) outnumber the works of all the stars of the universe!