Sunday, December 04, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today’s text

From the Proslogian by Saint Anselm of Canterbury (bishop, 1033-1109)

Lord most high, what shall this exile do, so far from you? What shall your servant do, tormented by love of you and cast so far from your face? He yearns to see you, and your face is too far from him. He desires to approach you, and your dwelling is unapproachable. He longs to find you, and does not know your dwelling place. He strives to look for you, and does not know your face.


The metaphor of exile is fitting to describe the feeling of those who hunger for God. We long for the One to whom we intuitively know we belong. We crave union with the Love from whom we feel separation, knowing no final peace on this earth until our tormented love is satisfied.

Saints and writers of every age have written of this experience, Christians, Jews, those of other faiths or of no faith at all. Awareness burns in the human heart, unsettling us, a restless knowledge that we are not at home until we are united with … something … someone.

We feel cut off from that mystery to which (to Whom) we ultimately belong. For the person without faith in God, this restlessness is an inescapable existential condition, the normal condition of the human heart living in a world in which one can never find the peace that the human heart is moved to seek for reasons it does not understand.

Although we find no peace here, we still want it, and we either live with the dis-ease of not having what we want, or we try to kill the desire with substances of constant busy-ness. We might tell ourselves that the unknown something we want is an illusion we had best ignore. Eat, drink and be merry, but don’t kid yourself: your hunger for final fulfillment is a false hope; it is chasing after the wind. You will never catch it.

But for the person of faith the yearning for the One to whom we belong is a search for home. It is the desire to return from the wandering of exile where we feel alone and lost, forgotten and perhaps forsaken, for we feel far removed from the One in whom rest and peace is found.

The Great Soul who is God, the One who loves and creates sentient beings out of an abundant store of love, creates us in order to share the boundless store of divine life and love with us, we who have life and love only by God’s gift.

God has fashioned our small souls so that in our exilic wanderings our hunger might moves us to seek to be reunited with the Mystery from whom we came, to return and find the holy union with the place, the Person, the home for which we have long searched, wondering at times whether it is even real.

It is, of course. It is real as are you, Loving and Holy Mystery. The pains of our wanderings through life are a great grace. They whisper in our ears that we belong to a Greatness which we cannot begin to imagine, the greatness of You, who made us for yourself.

So let us not run from the pain of our exile, nor kill or drown out the desire that moves us to search and long for union with the One who is always more. Our pain is a tormented love, moving us to search and watch for our Beloved, who continually draws us to the place where we might find oneness with the Source of our Being--and there, finally, to see the face of our Lord, face to face.

Pr. David L. Miller

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