I should submit to this life.
I don't know what life is; I think much about life, but without understanding. I attempt to form understanding from the perspective of creatures, because that is all I know; yet understanding emanates from a much greater source that lies beyond creation and all of the creatures that represent it.
Understanding is a whole thing that does not come in parts and cannot be divided; yet I do come in parts and I am divided, so it's only through grace that I can experience this greater understanding of which I speak.
Even then, I cannot do anything to achieve this; much trial and suffering and many years of effort are required even to prepare the ground in which grace can take root and grow. Only faith can prepare that soil; and only suffering can water it. Yet my faith is weak and by tolerance for suffering is low. I don't see how I need to submit to life in order to receive it properly.
I think I can have my life and do what I want to with it; and if I don't get my life and it doesn't do what I want, I'm not satisfied.
Yet God has given me exactly the life I need and the life I should have — indeed, every aspect of life is not only deserved and precisely attuned to my needs — it is also crafted precisely out of a great love for my Being, which the father wishes to preserve and help grow in all ways.
When we say our Father, we forget that we mean that the God is both my Father and your Father. He is our Father. We must cease to see this as an allegory. It is a fact. Like all fathers, he has taken it upon Himself to do everything for us and assume all of our responsibilities, to care for us and give us the most perfect conditions in which we can grow as His children. Now, any parent knows that children have very headstrong and foolish ideas about what may help their growth; and both the father and the mother are tasked with great difficulty in providing structure, discipline, the education that is needed for the child in order to grow into the full and enormous potential that the child represents. The child often doesn't like this.
So it is with my own life. My Father— for so He is, just as He is right now, in this instant, also your Father— has crafted my life quite exactly to meet all these needs; but I am an infant, a headstrong soul that has all my own ideas — based entirely on misunderstandings and selfishness — about how life should be organized. God knows better; and it is only in submitting to His will that I have any hope of outgrowing my childishness.
The Lord speaks to me at times quite directly and fills me of an instant with this entire and undivided understanding.
Then I know without words, and I see without eyes, and I understand without thinking that I am loved and supported, and that everything is exactly as it should be. Not from a philosophical, theoretical, or intellectual point of view; but in relationship to the love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In relationship to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and all that it represents. In the name and presence of the Blessed Virgin. These are all the real things in life, which I forget in my pursuit of creation, which is actually empty and has no good qualities to it aside from the ones that emanate from the Lord Himself.
This is why Meister Eckhart says in so many sermons that we must know God in all things and see God in all things; for when we see the things and know the things instead of God, we know things instead of God in all things. Once we know God, then we actually understand. But for as long as we know things, we are like blind creatures.
I think we are all like that. Blind creatures. It's strange how we can't see the way that God acts and how His love gives rise to every action. Yet that's just as true of me as it is of anyone else, except in so far as grace relieves me of my blindness.
I should submit to this life. God will come; that is something I can trust without doubt, no matter how far away from him I am.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.