Thursday, October 1, 2015

A touch of the divine

Deer, Kitty Hawk, NC
Photograph by Lee van Laer

 I'm 60 years old today.

The divine is a substance that can flow into us.

There is something peculiar about the highest levels of theological and philosophical abstraction about Divinity, in that they present the transcendent — that which lies beyond all of us and is impossible to reach or understand — as something that... well... lies beyond all of us and is impossible to reach or understand. This isn't the case at all; because mankind — and all of created reality — is a receptacle for Divinity, into which the transcendent pours all of its Being and all of its Love and Truth and Effort.

Thus Divinity exists in the very expression of our lives and our action, though we don't know it.

 Most of creation is passive in its reception of these qualities, but sentient beings, including man, have the capacity to be active — that is, we can know that we are these receivers of divinity. Generally speaking, we don't, of course; and perhaps it is our ignorance and misunderstanding alone that causes us to see divinity as something separate from us, a quality that is unattainable and that we can have no real and definite contact with.

 Divinity, the Love of God, is the finest and most ineffable substance in the universe, that which carries all of Divine Love and all of Divine Wisdom directly into the souls and the hearts of those who submit. It is such a sweet nectar that we cannot drink it in any great measure; to do so would be a violation of the privilege and the trust which is placed in us when we are given such a capacity.

The smallest taste of this Love and this Truth is already so overwhelming that it is best if we only receive a taste of a taste, so that we know the potential is there. To dwell within a steady flow of this perfection would annihilate us and prevent us from doing the work we are supposed to do here on this level.

And what work should we do? Are we meant solely to strive for God, or do we have a responsibility to act on this level, within the context of what it has and what it offers, unto itself?

Certainly, we wait to receive; but while we are waiting, there are works and things of this level to be attended to. Without being able to explain why, I am sure that what's required of us is to engage in right attitude, right thought, right action, just because that is what should be done — and not for any other reason. One does what is right because it is righteous; and one must come to an inner alignment, first of all, that stands upright for this principle, as best one can. There is no doubt I will fail in my attempt to both understand righteousness and exercise it; but my responsibility is to do my best. Outwardly, I owe the world that task; and inwardly, I am required to suffer for failing at it.

 So I work, because work is a right thing, and I do my best to work both inwardly and outwardly, not in the expectation of reward, but because it is right and it is righteous. I will need to do some work that is for myself and is selfish; but I must also work for everyone around me, to help them as best I can. My own understanding of life is that all human beings should work to support the welfare of one another. I can see that the planet isn't arranged that way; and that most individuals think that their own welfare surpasses that of others. I have great doubts on this matter; yet, lawfully, I am required to look after my own welfare in order to look after that of others. Conflicts and contradictions will arise, and they have to be sorted out – again, as best I can.

I engage in all these labors, such as they are, without expecting much. I just work, and wait for Grace. Everything that I do in the way of work is just a requirement, a responsibility, a way of marking time while I await the instruction and presence of the Lord and of Divine Love, which, on occasion, touches me to remind me that God's Love is really there.

 I was touched that way this morning  and it reminded me of how absolutely true everything that has ever been said about God's Love is; how perfect, how glorious, how absolutely merciful and forgiving. There is no way a human being can reciprocate for gifts like this; gratitude is not enough.

Being introduced to the mystery, I go forward into life, trying to hold my head high and find the right way to live within action in this life. What comes next, I cannot know; and what comes after this life, this is part of what is hidden by the great veil of Love that is drawn over creation.

I suspect it is there because the Glory would overwhelm us if we could see it now.


Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.


  1. Happy Birthday Lee.
    Your essays here have been inspiration and affirmation on many a morning. Thank you.
    All the best, Judith.

  2. Thank you. I remember Michel de S using the term 'nectar' and strongly castigating me in a group when I said that I had discussed the 'work' with my close friends.....
    The good old days....of fearful secrecy :)

  3. "The ultimate gift of a Conscious life, is a sense of the mystery that encompasses it." ~ Lewis Mumford


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