Wednesday, February 15, 2012
'Aha' Moments in Life
How do we become more of what we are meant to be, the person God wants us to be? The answer again is respect and awe. Respect includes love, and awe goes to a higher level, to a respect that includes awe, somewhat like what can be experienced when in contact with the beauties of nature.
Only humanity has the possibility for this respect and awe; it's not found in the animal world. This ability makes us who we are, and we should practice and develop these qualities. They come into play, especially when we come in contact with our brothers and sisters. All of life is filled with the possibilities for awe, looking up at the sky, or down on the earth; not only in nature, but seeing a car pass on the street and gazing at a building can trigger this awe.
There are many who do not have this respect and awe for others. They have not developed this virtue. They think only of themselves: proud, righteous and centered on themselves and family. Their world and numbers are small, but sometimes they are in powerful places in our society. The columnist tells us that we develop these traits of respect and awe with an attitude of contemplation.
We all have a radiance, he says. It may come from our eyes and mouth when we look or talk compassionately with another, or when looking on creation with thanksgiving. Even when we use the most expensive tooth paste, this aroma will not be present on our lips. It is only when we utter praise and thanks that the aroma will be present.
Christians know that God made us by infusing into us his breath. This is part of who we are. When we give off this radiance and realize what is happening, we are contemplating. When radiance does not emanate from us, this is not contemplation but rather, he says, indulging in personal satisfaction or pseudo-contemplation. True contemplation can also see the radiance that is given off by creation, helping to strengthen our own, and giving rise to respect and awe within us.
The columnist ends by reminiscing on the studies he has made in theology and the many books he has read and studied on contemplation. They were, he now knows, just partial presentations, theoretical, word-based understandings that stayed in his head. The 'Aha' moment came when he went down on his knees and experienced true contemplation, respect and awe resonating within him from a life lived in harmony with God's will.