God and Heaven Come Down to Earth

Why do we want to make God such a powerful force that works (as we like to imagine) by intervening and controlling situations and making things turn out comfortably for his favorites? What if the true nature and “power” of God was expressed in quite different human metaphors? What if heaven was a place where there were no social distinctions, where the vulnerable was more powerful than the oppressive? Fragility, tenderness, the marginal, the simply beautiful rather than the magnificent? These are much more difficult to believe as symbols of what “God,” the verb, and “heaven,” the non-spatial place, mean. Yet they speak to us with greater truth and leave a deeper impression. They bring us closer to seeing what the truth is by helping us to see things as they truly are in a world where we habitually weave illusions of success to conceal our fears and insecurities. In a day balanced on the twin levers of morning and evening meditation, the strong, true subtleties of life win out over the habits of fantasy. In Lenten days when the spirit of self-control and careful attention to detail sharpen our perception and soften our anxiety, God and heaven come down to earth.

—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB

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