There is a numinous quality to the realization that we are alive. What we think of as mundane sometimes lulls us to sleep. We become unaware of the glory surrounding us, and we blithely glide across the waters of life without looking too closely at anything. It is as if our eyes are shrouded by a sheet shielding us from spiritual reality. Jesus often said that those who did not have ears to hear or eyes to see would not understand his parables, in which he used simple stories to describe spiritual realities.
But the divine always cuts holes in our shroud. Jesus’ parables did this for his followers. Many other very simple things can do the same. It could be the way the wind blew through the trees. Perhaps it was when you noticed how adorable your daughter is when she eats her dinner. Sometimes it comes with the sparkle in your wife’s eye when she laughs with you. It could come in a sincere word from a friend. Great tragedies can also cut holes in our shroud. These things open up a window to reality if we are ready to see it. As the Proverbs say, Lady Wisdom calls out in the streets. Wisdom is the very fabric of reality, and it is actually right before our eyes and there for the taking. But some are unable to see it. Some are unable to see that the world is soaked in God’s wisdom, presence, and providence.
God’s providence gives you life this very moment and at every moment. He is the ground of your being. If the Trinity indeed flows with love, and the Trinitarian God is the ground of your very being, then your being is designed to enter into that flow of love. The key is opening your inmost being to that love and allowing it to flow around, in, and through you. We fall out of this rhythm when we can’t see that God has made the mundane holy and we fail to allow our shroud to be punctured. When this happens, we lose our grip on reality.
Let God cut away the veil you’ve placed over reality. If we cannot see the spiritual reality before us, there is no way for us to participate in the divine love. Christ cut away the veil over reality by mysteriously making the divine human. In the most seemingly mundane events, God cut away the biggest holes into our shrouds. A Jewish baby was born to a poor family. This baby grew to be a man who was crushed by the Roman Empire, like many others. These events were common, but uncommon. They were mundane, but at the same time revolutionary. They seemed insignificant, but fundamentally altered the fabric of reality from our point of view. They were earthly and divine. Because of these events, the kingdom of God is now seeping out, oozing over all of creation, spreading like Jesus’ yeast that leavens the whole loaf.
We can either be a part of this expansion or we can be walking around in the dark waiting to be overcome by it. In CS Lewis’s The Great Divorce, there are people and Hell who make their way to heaven. When they get there, they find they can’t even interact with heaven or make their way around because heaven is too real for them. They cannot so much as pick up a leaf in heaven because it is ruinous to them. They are like ghosts who have lost their humanity. In Hell, they move millions of miles apart because they cannot bear to be in relationship with others. In the same way, if we do not allow God to show us reality – if we remain obstinate to his love – we will become brittle, ghost-like caricatures of ourselves.
Let God cut away your shroud and give you ears to hear. Pay attention to the small moments that you once thought mundane. God is working and speaking. Listening to his voice, paying attention to the mundane, praying, participating in eucharist, bringing justice to the poor, hard work, reading God’s word, reading other good literature, living within a family, suffering and so many other practices and experiences are how we exercise our soul for the weight and glory of heaven. Much like physical exercise, these things are not always easy, but God invites you into himself. Let him take you on his journey.