| On the Threshold of Mystery and Understanding
Hugh Lavery in his book,
"Reflections on the Creed" says, " I believe in God is not an
opinion. It is a decision....Faith is glass. Through it you look out on the world and see
the sunlight, the stars and the vast acres of infinity. Above all, it relays your vision
of people, of our family and your friends. And it decides how you see yourself."
Human consciousness is a blessing. It is what makes us human. It is what sets us apart - as far as we know - from the rest of creation on earth. However, it comes in with a built-in safeguard - for with consciousness comes an awareness of how much we can perceive but not explain - how much we can sense but not communicate - how very small we are in the vastness of space.
For some, this awareness is exciting and fires them up to investigation and wonder.
For others, it is too fearful - and they turn away and create a world of their own. All too often, this world is a world of illusion - and those who create such a world live in permanent fear that one day their world will disappear.
For those who stand on the threshold of Mystery, there is a challenge. They are challenged to look at what they do know - and what they cannot begin to comprehend - and to hold them together. They may seem to contradict each other at times - but the person who accepts this challenge finds that they can hold seeming opposites in joyful paradox.
By daring to trust to Mystery, they retain the capacity to be surprised - and delighted. They find that the knowledge they thought they had - and which seemed so solid and unchangeable - can deepen and become richer as the Mystery percolates through it and their mind -and soul - expands to receive it.
The ancient astronomers gazed into the sky - recording what they saw. If asked, they would have said that they believed that the stars were lights in the vault of heaven - for such was their understanding at the time. They learnt much about the movement of stars and planets - but knew there was more - much more than they could explain.
Astronomers in our day gaze at the same stars now - and if asked would say that they believe the stars to be suns like our own - for such is their understanding today. But for all the knowledge, they too know there is far more to be discovered - and are delighted to be surprised by new discoveries - even when that overturns preciously cherished knowledge.
In faith too, we stand on a threshold of Mystery and understanding. No-one has seen God - but somewhere deep inside every human being is a sense of something - or someone - within and beyond human knowledge.
Faced with such Mystery, many turn away and create a world without God. Others though, dare to stay on the threshold - where Mystery and Understanding meet. They allow Mystery to percolate them - expanding their minds and souls. They refuse to be limited by the words they can use to "explain" or describe - sensing new and deeper meanings of the words yet to be discovered.
Belief is not the closing of doors and windows and setting up home with well-worn and loved creeds. It is keeping the door between Understanding and Mystery firmly open - and standing on the threshold....
Drinking from the Wellspring