August 7, 2010
Editorial

Discovering God in the Event
by George Maloney

In each event we discover by a new, positive awareness that we really are children of God. We yield gently to God's loving presence in ourselves so that we think and act as whole, healed persons, for that is what God sees us to be in his love for us.

TO DO THE WILL OF GOD is to enter into the healing process of becoming what the Father has always seen us to be in his Son, Jesus: his loving children. To live outside a conscious oneness with the Father's will is to live in a world of illusions. It is one and the same thing--not to live according to our true dignity as his children.

But where do we find the Heavenly Father, through his Holy Spirit, "unconcealing" his mind in order to lead us into true freedom as His sons and daughters? Jesus, in abandoning himself to his Father in the context of his daily life, found him.

His Father unveiled himself as Love, pouring himself completely into the Son's being and calling Jesus into his Sonship in each moment. Jesus found his Father always working, and he himself wanted to work in union with the Father. Jesus does nothing at any time of himself, but only in the Father's power and love in order to please him.

The great mystic-theologians of Eastern Christianity taught that God, like the sun, sends off his uncreated energies, as rays of light and warmth, to touch us and interact with us and through us with the rest of creation. Although Scripture tells us that no one has ever seen God and lived, that his essence is totally unknowable and inaccessible to us, yet he gives himself through his energies. These are not "accidents," but are truly God in his loving relationships to humanity. God is always, therefore, acting naturally, according to his nature as loving Father. He never works supernaturally [i.e., outside of his nature].

Thus God in his energies permeates every material atom of this universe. For him and the Christian enlightened by faith, everything is God gifting of himself to humanity. The whole universe is bathed in the grace of his divine energies. Whether we are eating, loving one another, sleeping or working, God is powerfully present and working as he gives himself in his energies. Everything is sacred for one who has eyes to see God working in his energies. For one of no faith, everything is profane and lacking in ultimate meaning. Such a person believes he is alone, separated from God and other persons.

In each event of each moment God is calling us into reality out of our shadowy existence.

For the believer, however, he is an I, aware of God's in-breaking love and aware of responding to his loving energies in each given moment. Such a Christian vision finds God working in all things by his grace, his uncreated energies, touching us and drawing us always into a more intimate union with himself. It is a vision that takes us from darkness, and places us fully in the light of God's loving presence as the Ground of all being. It is a true "unconcealment" -- an uncovering of what is always there -- but our lack of faith keeps us from communicating with the ever-present and ever-loving God.

Faith, the work of the energizing Holy Spirit, rips off the false masks from ourselves and others. In a gentle security of knowing that we are loved by the all-perfect God, we let go of our need to interpret events or happenings according to the darkened ideas that we entertain, especially of our false ego. Not having a true love of ourselves, because our faith is not strong enough to convince us of God's love for us unto death in his Son Jesus, we fashion opinions of ourselves and the world around us that are simply a lie and do not present the "really real" as God sees it.

The event is, therefore whatever is happening to us. The word is derived from the Latin word, evenire, "to come out of." It dynamically presents us with a given moment of which something is coming, being brought to birth. By faith we can say that God is coming out of this or that moment. What is happening now is that God is calling us to find him in that happening moment. God has not been sleeping, so that he has to wake up and "come out" of the event as a butterfly emerges from the darkness of the cocoon -- God has been there all the time, loving and giving himself in the moments that preceded and prepared this moment.

It is we who have been sleeping and totally unaware of the richness of God's love in the preceding moments, going back all the way to our birth. Now faith stirs us to awaken to God's inner presence. From our side we go into the event, and we discover by finding inside the event what was already stored there. As God "comes out of" (evenire), we "go into" (invenire), and there in the given moment takes place the loving union of two wills becoming one.

Our greatest work in life is the asceticism of listening to God's call with utter openness and sincerity.

In each event of each moment God is calling us into reality out of our shadowy existence. Our greatest work in life is the asceticism of listening to God's call with utter openness and sincerity. It is a receptive readiness to swing freely wherever God leads. "Speak, Lord, thy servant hears."

Our most difficult ascetical struggle comes in what the Fathers of the Desert call nepsis -- the constant, interior vigilance we exercise over every thought, feeling and imagination that could possibly throw us out of the faith dimension of being in Christ, back into the darkness of insecurity and fear.

In each event we discover by a new, positive awareness that we really are children of God. We learn in the event to let go of negativity and we find the godly and the truthful in each moment. We learn to yield gently to God's loving presence in ourselves so that we think and act as whole, healed persons, for that is what God sees us to be in his love for us. Aggressiveness against others disappears as we gently let the presence of God come forth. God in us meets the God in others and we discover the freeing joy that the Spirit has made us one in Christ.

For such a faith-full Christian, seeking the face of God in each event, it is this present moment in which he finds a new incarnation. Or perhaps it would be more true to say that God is again taking on "flesh," breaking into our world to pitch his tent among us to bring his shekinah or infinite glory into our darkened world. Or simply we can say that Jesus is being "unconcealed" for us for, since his first incarnation, he has never really left us.

Not knowing of our inner beauty as loved already by God, we take things into our own hands.

Jesus knew that all of us tend toward fears, worries and anxieties. In our isolation and ignorance, not knowing of our inner beauty as loved already by God so infinitely in Christ Jesus, we take things -- events -- into our own hands. We interpret them according to our self-centered fears.

Thus bound and enslaved to the past and the future in fear, we ignore the present that alone can bring God's healing to the past hurts, loneliness and sinfulness. By opening ourselves in complete abandonment to his loving, creative presence in this now moment, we move into the real future that no human eye has ever seen nor ear heard nor could it ever have entered into our minds what God has prepared already for those who love him.

How exciting to realize that these things prepared for us are not the static, eternal ideas predetermined by a God who is totally detached from our material world. Rather, our faith in the presence of God in this event calls us into a great adventure. We are called into God's creative, loving energies to co-create with him out of the raw stuff of each moment the only real world there is, namely, the world of living and loving in his holy will.

Taken from Nesting in the Rock by George Maloney. Copyright 1977 George Maloney, SJ. Published by Dimension Books, Denville, New Jersey. Used with permission of the author.

George A. Maloney was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and ordained in 1957 in Rome as a priest of the Russian Byzantine Rite. He earned doctorate in Oriental Theology in 1962. He has established himself as an outstanding author of works on prayer and Eastern Christian spirituality as applied to the daily life of Western Christians. He wrote more than fifty books. George Maloney now resides in Seal Beach, California, where he is affiliated with Contemplative Ministries.

Article reprinted in its entirety (including credits) from Union Life, September/October 1997, pp. 9-11.1991), pp. 83-84.