“The presence of God is indeed the very sunlight of the soul, bringing every flower to fruitfulness”
-Anselm Moynihan, O.P.
A couple of months ago (I know, I started this post and then got caught up in the semester) I had to read something like 120 pages for one of my philosophy classes, and it started out like any other reading assignment: me, opening the book and checking out what pages I had to read; then, me, scoffing and mentally complaining at the ridiculousness of the size of the assignment; and finally, me, convincing myself to at least skim it so I don’t end up failing the class. So I skimmed.
As I was reading, I came across this quote and I re-read it about ten times, because I was so in love with it and so perplexed by it at the same time. At first glance I loved it because it’s so poetic and has stunning imagery that I had never heard ascribed to theology and the understanding of God’s nature and presence. But then I started thinking about it, and it applies to so much in our lives. Rather, it applies to so much in us.
Most people — myself included sometimes — tend to think of God as just this beatific guy who is somehow everywhere, but not really ‘cuz we can’t see Him, but He helps us out a lot and we pray to him and it’s great! Right? But we don’t really think about Him being our Father, the Creator, Beholder, Upholder, Original Mover, and Beginning and End of all things good. It can be hard to think like that every day in the midst of our crazy lives. I get it.
However, He’s not just this divine man who we love but sometimes forget about or don’t really give enough attention to except when we need him. He’s the be-all and end-all. Literally. He’s the Love and Life that gives sunlight to our souls, whose divine characteristics constitute the life and existence of everything good and beautiful –bringing every flower to its fruitfulness, every sun to its light, every wave to its crest, every child to its fulfillment and every heart to its overflowing. And that is awesome.
Let me tell you, St. Therese had it figured it out, too. When she said it’s about the little things (I’m paraphrasing) she wasn’t just unknowingly setting the foundation for what will become arguably one of the most over-used clichés, ever. She was talking about every little moment that we get our breath grabbed out of us for even just a millisecond at the beauty in front of us (even if we can’t really pin-point it). She was talking about every little heart flutter that we get when we’re truly realizing the sheer goodness in our friendships. She was talking about every time it feels like a ray of pure sunshine hits that sweet spot in our hearts and we can’t even explain why, it just does and it leaves you with this feeling of understated eternal awe and love. She was, in part, talking about these things and recognizing that they’re little blessings. Little love notes from the Big Man, if you will.
But that’s just the beginning. She then took those little love notes from Heaven and turning them back around to those around us, like when we give others the gift of a smile. Or a small act of kindness. Or a small prayer for them, even if it’s just one word or no words at all, especially if they are being a hardship for us. She was talking about switching out your good spoon for your little brother’s ‘bad spoon’ because you know it’ll make him quietly happy in a weird little way. She was talking about taking those little moments and dying to yourself in a little way for the other. And that’s how we can participate in and seek out the presence of God.
And that’s how we can help bring our hearts to fruitfulness.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
(Go read it: