You know how you can read or hear something a thousand times and the thousand and one time you see it, you notice a line you hadn’t really ever taken in before? I experienced this little marvel earlier this week at Mass.
“Let us celebrate the mystery of God.”
You know. Like the stars and the universe. Crazy mysterious stuff….
Really quite simple. Celebrate the beautiful vast, and mysterious miracle that is God.
So maybe not so simple….
We like our lives in this neat little wrapped up box, with a matching bow and wrapping paper. Myself included, I like my kitchen clean when I go to bed, my to-do lists checked off and my budgets to come out in the green. I certainly like my world my way. I make these glorious plans for the future about living in the city and (hopefully) being a wife and (maybe) one day, a mother. I like to map it out, just so everything fits. I naively assume God smiles in approval of my humanly plans.
But really, do you think I have any idea? Do you think God gives me some privy access to his spectacular plan as a whole for rest of my life because I’m – I dunno, an upstanding person? Abso-freakin’-lutely not. God can’t be watered down to human concepts. We might see little, everyday miracles and acknowledge them as His work – but can we really know for sure the larger picture? My presumption is no.
I like to look in hindsight and say, “God obviously put that person in my life for x,y,z reasons. It all makes sense now.” And many times, it is His work. But His work is also never done. Perhaps it is somewhat presumptuous to assume that I know God’s plan in its entirety for my life? I can’t degrade God’s work to my neatly wrapped box of a life. He’s so much more than that.
A little over a year ago, I remember having a conversation with someone about free will verses predestination. I drew a semi-road map on a little white board, all kinds of branching paths. I said “If we are predestined then only one path of this entire map will be our individual life. And if that God’s work, then there is no in between. Either destiny or free will. Let’s assume there is free will – then where is God? Does he point you in the right direction some of the time? More often then not? If there is ‘God’s plan’ then there is no free will. You can’t have a divine plan with free will, they are mutually exclusive events.” I beamed as if I had just proved Einstein was wrong all along. (Did I ever mention I was VP of my high school philosophy club? I know, so cool.)
He replied, “You’re putting this into extremely human parameters.”
I pushed further, “So is God at the beginning of these paths or the end? Or not on the paths at all, but off to the side? Where would you put God on this diagram?”
And the punch line, the point of this whole post, he stated, “God isn’t even anywhere on this white board. You can’t diagram God, or explain Him into existence.”
That has stuck with me for a while. Should I aim for a virtuous life and seek a relationship with my higher power? Of course. Should I continue to earn grace and do selfless work? Yep. But to dilute God’s work to my human knowledge and understanding? That’s only going to hinder my potential.
What would faith be if it was based on logic? I could say, “Yea I’m a big believer in multiplication. Every time. I believe – in one multiplication table – the rows and columns that show – 7X7 is 49.” But this guy that walked the earth and was crucified on the cross? One God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Ummm, I don’t know – show me the multiplication table for that. Well there isn’t one. And for me, the minute I stopped feeding God through my brain and started interpreting him through my heart, the grace of His work snowballed. (And I still don’t understand a lot of it…)
Let us celebrate the Mystery of God.
The divine, beautiful, mystery that there just might be something bigger out there than us. And we don’t have to understand it all. I will cheers to that.