15 June 2017

"The wonder in all this question, is not our loving and longing for God, but that He should have first loved us."

Every living being thirsts after happiness; and yet, and because of that, it aspires only after the good of which it is capable; for it is the necessary condition of happiness that, in order to its existence, there must be the full contentment of the creature's desire. Hence, in that great act of creation which the Scripture so sublimely calls His playing in the world, when, with His almighty power He prepared the heavens, and enclosed the depths, and balanced the foundations of the earth, we are told that divine Wisdom secured the harmony of the universe by giving to each creature, according to its degree in the scale of being, an end adequate to its powers. He thus measured the wants, the instinct, the appetite (that is, the desire) of each creature, according to its respective nature; so that it would never have cravings which its faculties were insufficient to satisfy. 

In obedience, then, to this law, was not man, too, obliged to confine, within the limits of his finite nature, his desires for the good and the beautiful, that is, his searching after God, which is a necessity with every intelligent and free being? Otherwise, would not certain beings have to place their happiness in objects which must ever be out of the reach of their natural faculties?

Great as the anomaly would appear, yet does it exist: true psychology, that is, the true science of the human mind, bears testimony to this desire for the infinite. Like every living creature around him, man thirsts for happiness; and yet, he is the only creature on earth that feels within itself longings for what is immensely beyond its capacity. 

Whilst docile to the lord placed over them by the Creator, irrational creatures are quite satisfied with what they find in this world; they render to man their several services, and their own desires are all fully gratified by what is within their reach. It is not so with man; he can find nothing in this his earthly dwelling, which can satiate his irresistible longings for something which this earth cannot give, and which time cannot produce; for that something is the infinite. 

God Himself, when revealing Himself to man through the works He has created, that is, when showing Himself to man in a way which his natural powers can take in; when giving man to know Him as the First Cause, as the Last End of all creatures, as unlimited perfection, as infinite beauty, as sovereign goodness, as the object which can content both our understanding and our will-- no, not even God Himself, thus known and thus enjoyed, could satisfy man. This being, made out of nothing, wishes to possess the Infinite in his own substance; he longs after the sight of the face, he ambitions to enjoy the life, of his Lord and God. The earth seems to him but a trackless desert, where he can find no water to quench his thirst. 

From early dawn of each wearisome day, his soul is at once on the watch, pining for that God who alone can quell his desires; yea, his very flesh too, has its thrilling expectations for that beautiful Infinite One. Let us listen to the psalmist, who speaks for us all: 

'As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God! My soul hath thirsted after the strong, living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My tears have been my bread, day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God? These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God. With the voice of joy and praise, the noise of one that is feasting. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise unto Him: the salvation of my countenance and my God.'

--from the entry for Corpus Christi, The Liturgical Year

1 comment:

Rory said...

Hi Tim,

Considering our mutual appreciation of Dylan, Gueranger, and Green Chartreuse, I raise my next glass of the latter to you.

We only need look inside ourselves to find proof for the existence of God. Only God will satisfy. What monsters we are if we could want what is not? We would be of all things living, the most miserable, if there is no God. Did you look at Matins for Corpus Christi? What St. Thomas says? Dom Gueranger has helped me see that our religion is stupendous.

Lately, the biggest "proof" for my faith, is that it is too wonderful to be made up by anybody...that was human only.

Rory