George was a spiritual mentor to many. We profited from his wisdom. Let us listen and learn from his words again.
George’s homily was given on the Sunday of Fulfillment (Christ the King):
In the Gospel Jesus stands before Pilate. He is on trial. Pilate asks: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers: “My dominion is not from this world!” “So you are a king?” asks Pilate. “That’s what you are saying – that’s your language – But as for me I came into the world to testify to the truth. For this I was born.”
So what are we talking about when Jesus prays to God: “Thy Kingdom come?”
Jim Finley reminds us: ”The oneness of the Father/mother and the Chosen One is an infinite, boundless openness; it has no otherness in it. This Jesus just before his death prayed for his disciples, “Abba, that they may be one even as we are one…..that they may be one even as we are one. Even as.” This is where the Reign,of God is: We living in the divine embrace and the divine Presence dwelling within our brokenness…
As I pondered all this, I had to ask myself how do I understand it? Where is my awareness?….
Many of us….have learned a bit about contemplation from Jim Finley. He suggested using a simple mantra as a means of entering our contemplative space: “Be still and know that I am God.” In my practice over the years I have expanded this mantra to include the various dimensions within so that I would become aware through my heart, my mind, my soul, my spirit and my body. Here is my prayer:
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I Am.
That just as I am All in All – mysteriously present in all of creation,
So I have chosen to dwell in the deepest center of your being –
in the innermost core of who you are – at the very heart of your existence,
With overwhelming,·unceasing, unconditional love
Be still and know.
As I sit in silence, the awareness of my heart speaks to me of openness. The door of my heart must always be an open door. Open to friend and foe alike; there are no aliens, strangers—no enemies in the Reign of God. There simply are no exceptions. All must be invited to the table – no one’s feet go unwashed….The Reign of God is the open door of God’s heart which will not close until all are included….
Each morning, the awareness of the mind teaches me to value above all else listening. What good is an open table if we do not have an open mind with which to engage one another? Only by listening can trust be established. The opposite is judgment. I was so grateful for Vatican II when after 450 years during which alt Protestants were judged to be heretics, branded as enemies of Christ, excommunicated and often executed. And now we are invited to enter into dialogue, into fruitful sharing and exchange. This was a defining moment for me. Dialogue, ever since, has been a key word. Dialogue – not restricted to Christians but all other religions – speaking and listening to one another. This is the foundation of the Kingdom. That is why the first word of Benedict’s Rule was “listen”. Listen with the ear of your heart. Gather around the table in Holy conversation.
The awareness of the soul beckons me to walk in God’s garden of paradise, surrounded by all the beauty of nature. Anthony de Mello said, “Get out of your head and come to your senses!” The senses·are the windows through which we behold the extravagant and luxurious splendor of God’s glory manifesting itself….
The awareness of the Spirit
In the deepest part of our being is the secret sanctuary of God’s silent presence where, if we take the time to enter and dwell in that space in silence, we will, over time, become aware of the overwhelming, unceasing and unconditional love of God, as we dwell in this Love. There arises in us a profound gratitude. I believe gratitude is the meeting place of our spirit with God’s Spirit. It is the place where all things come together and where all things become possible. This deep gratitude finds its expression in this holy space, around this table where our hearts and hands are joined in adoration and thanksgiving and where we are fed and nourished.
When I sit alone and in silence in the presence of God the body itself becomes aware of its own physicality as the outer circumference of the inner richness of the fife that all of us are living. And as we relax into God’s presence our anxieties subside, our fears are dispersed and our many angers quiet down that we may experience Peace – a peace that surpasses all understanding.. And we become aware of how violence – violence of any kind – is the enemy of God….
And, finally, each morning my mantra becomes, “Be still my whole being and rest in the presence of God.” It is an utterly ordinary moment. Of such moments Merton says, “there is a flash of awareness, the recognition of the heart that this is holy. Nothing is missing…one sees at once all that God is and what we are called to be.” It is a moment of fulfillment. Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be given you besides. Thy Kingdom come! The Truth prevail.
Thank you George, we are grateful!