Things have changed. I am now comfortable with taking the Bible into my heart, not just my mind. It was hard work because I now see my heart was guarded by very talented stoic soldiers and I had to ask these internal guards to leave my heart open to attack by emotions. They listened. It is still hard work, for the Bible challenges me.
I think of my time at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville. Spend a week in silence, allowing for at least three hours of reflections on the Bible each day, and something has to crack. I didn't know what I was headed for on my first long retreat, I thought it would be a break from the daily routine, relaxing, a vacation. In my room was a suggestion, "Read and reflect upon Psalm 139." It ripped into my heart possibly even killing a stoic guard along the way. What emerged at first was anger and sadness which had been there for over 30 years. Four days later, God's love began to fill in the space which had been emptied.
Things have changed. A few weeks ago while worshiping at Wernersville, the beginning of Psalm 139 was read, while we chanted on being wonderfully made. I can believe, even with our flaws, that God creates us wonderfully. Is it that what we deem not wonderful, is truly wonderful? I see this as true. I struggle.
But God is never finished. Last week, my spiritual director directs me to Psalm 139, and now I am to face that God has chosen to create me in this way, at this time, at this place, with these joys, and with these pains. Again my faith is challenged to believe in a God who chooses so much, but I surely didn't chose these things, so who did. Was it God or was it nothing?
There are extremes here and I know folk at both ends, but I don't want to be in either camp. I can't imagine God choosing every thing that happens, and I can't imagine God having no choice. I explain this to my spiritual director who says profound things like, "this is good, you are awake, the exercises are getting things stirred up inside of you."