“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” – Pedro Arrupe, S.J.
I came across this quote on my good friend’s Facebook, and was moved at the pure truth that is summed up in a single paragraph. This world is full of so many things that can be used as distractions, and I think it is crucial to find out for ourselves our priorities. My priorities have definitely changed this year. While I still enjoy using the computer, watching tv and texting, I understand that those ways of communicating are not best for relationships. I also spend a lot more time outside and am going to plan more service projects to put action to my intentions. My priorities are more-so on people and working on my relationship with God than entertainment. And the entertainment I choose to deploy more appropriately supports my priorities than it used to.
I think we deploy distractions instead of faith because that’s what we’re used to, or we are not up to digging deeper within ourselves to expose that raw beauty and vulnerability. It’s easy to have a comfortable faith that begins and ends on Sundays. It doesn’t take much mental or emotional effort to throw money at charities. Sometimes we are afraid of finding the ugly things that dwell inside of us.
The truth is that it hurts to be vulnerable. I am trying, day by day, to fully open myself up to God to see all that’s in me- the irrational, immature, self-centered part of me, and have asked Him to help me rid myself of those things. And while it hurts to look at that part of myself, I feel the love of acknowledging the ugly and I know that with God, it is transformed to beauty.
I learned so much amazing music in my college choirs, but it is this year, during my somewhat “spiritual awakening,” that it is coming back to me. The Father Arrupe quote above reminds me of one piece in particular, “My Song in the Night.” My favorite line from it is “Why should I wander, an alien from thee? Or cry in the desert, thy face to see?”
As I have begun this deepening of my faith, I realize that I sometimes deviate and get complacent and comfortable, forgetting there is a lot to be done. God then knocks me right off my horse! It can be anything that moves me- a song, a movie, an interaction with someone who challenges me to compassion, that says to me “Hey, you! You KNOW your work isn’t done yet! Your break is over!” almost like someone who accidentally took an unusually longer lunch break. Once I realize it, I say, “Ah, I see what you’re doing! Indeed you are tricky! And I think I understand what you mean.” I am then moved back to that place of deepening contemplation, and that lyric comes to mind. Why would I want to wander from you? Why would I want to cover my eyes so that it’s harder to see you, and close myself off from the suffering of my brothers and sisters? That’s the exact opposite of what I want.
My wish for myself is that I never stop allowing God to shake me up so I can pay attention to the work I am called to do and to act as Jesus did. My wish for you is that you fall in love with and deepen your faith in God, so that you feel complete throughout your soul.