Wondering

The eyes of my soul were opened and I beheld the plenitude of God, wherein I did comprehend the whole world, both here and beyond the sea, and the abyss and the ocean and all things. In all these things I beheld naught save the divine power, in a manner assuredly indescribable, so that through excess of marveling, the soul cried with a loud voice, saying ‘this whole world if filled with God!’ Wherefore I now comprehended how small a thing was the whole world… and that the power of God exceeds and fills all. Then He said unto me, “I have shown thee something of My power”, and I understood that after this, I should better understand the rest. He said then, “behold my humility”. Then I was given an insight into the deep humility of God towards man. And comprehending that unspeakable power and deep humility, my soul marveled greatly and did esteem itself to be nothing at all. -St. Angela of Foligno (from Mysticism)

I read that this morning and found an instant catch in my brain at that last part, the deep humility of God… towards man. My presuppositions found themselves in a sudden disconnect. My conception of humility is of someone who thinks themselves worth nothing; not in a derogatory sense, but in that easy absence of self, that indefinable lack of demand upon the world that weaves such a sweet gentleness in the presence of some people. This is not something I usually equate with God. My conception of the Creator is more in line with the first part of the quote; a being (whom I eagerly love and worship) of “unspeakable” power. And I realized that it is hard for me to think about God in terms of someone who thinks of Himself as worth nothing. He’s God. By definition, he is Everything. How can you be humble when you are the essence of being?

My thought usually reconciles the idea of God’s humility by considering it another branch of his power. A sort of super strength of self-abnegation that makes a divine humility that is expressed in divine ways of merciful condescension. I see him as this grand king who is always aware of his kingship as he walks among lesser men with grants and boons of mercy. Still a humbling; but not the easy, selfless sweetness I associate with human humility. And that is, of course, part of the truth.

But this morning as this idea of God’s humility brewed in my brain, I had this sense of being jolted awake. God, humble toward man? God… selfless? Like, he really didn’t think about himself and his greatness when he was saving us? Could God, (God!), have really thought himself worth nothing in the face of his love for us? What if God really did, not in a cosmic or divine sense, but in a dust and breath sort of way, a human way, literally consider Himself as nothing? What if the other part of the truth that I have never grasped is that salvation was the simple impulse of a loving heart to thoughtlessly give itself away for the one it loved? Not a self-important sacrifice but a gentle, tender giving driven by an artless love. Could God be so unspeakably sweet… so innocent? Of course, it is what my heart has always wanted. The miracle is that I begin to realize it is true.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Wondering

  1. Katie

    Lovely thoughts. I had to read this multiple times to truly begin to wrap my mind around what you have said. Do you mind if I link to this from my blog?
    Blessings,
    Katie

  2. I too will have to come back again and again to grasp this – but WOW – thank you for sharing – Sunshine

  3. Joy D.

    profound. It is what makes me keep going and loving Him. I am so glad you are writing again. Feeds my soul.

  4. If you like Animal Vegetable Miracle, you’d probably be interested in reading Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan. It’s a NY Times Bestseller that traces various food chains in the US: conventional, industrial organic, local organic and hunted/foraged. I found the beginning a bit slow, but the rest of it is fascinating. Pollan is an excellent writer and can make a topic you have no interest in whatsoever fascinating – such as mushroom foraging.

    Real Food, What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck is also excellent!!

    We are blessed in our area to have wonderful farmer’s and markets and get almost all of our food local and organic including raw milk, fresh butter and more. Yummy!

    Happy Reading 🙂

  5. I love the way you put

    “Could God be so unspeakably sweet… so innocent? Of course, it is what my heart has always wanted.”

    It seems like I have barely scratched the surface of who God really is. Reading your blog keeps my mind churning for days!!

    Susan.

    P.S. Your art for today reminds me of The Princess and the Goblins, is it supposed to be artwork from that book? I finished that one just the other day and now am on The Princess and Curdie. Thankyou Sarah for such good book recommendations!

  6. How profound. I’ve been thinking about this idea lately… how Jesus made Himself nothing and became obedient to death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-11). The funny thing is, when I read that passage I don’t think about how Jesus really was /God/ who made Himself nothing. Something to really think about! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

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