Seeking God’s Presence
They should practice the seeking of God’s presence in all things, in their conversations, their walks, in all that they see, taste, hear, understand, in all their actions, since His Divine Majesty is truly in all things by His presence, power, and essence.
Letters of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
In this Easter season the above passage from the letters of St. Ignatius holds a particular importance. He calls on us to practice being alert to God’s presence in and around us – God’s creative love in creation, God’s grace working in and for me, God’s Spirit filling the emptiness of the universe, God’s gift of self in it all. But God appears to us in the risen Christ in many small ways as well – in our sisters and brothers, in the rich diversity of them all. God only asks that we recognize that presence and respect the dignity of all.
We are reminded of this past Sunday’s gospel (John 20:19-31) in which Thomas does not accept that Jesus came to the disciples in his absence saying, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finder in the mark of the nail, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Jesus came once again to the disciples and said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus will not appear to each of us in the same way he did to the disciples; but the Lord does become apparent in our lives in ways that respond to our own particular needs. The Lord is there with us and for us, with all our own doubts and confusions.
The visual image of the wounds in the hands and side of the risen Lord remind us of the more current wounds we all share in the Catholic Church as members of the Body of Christ. Christ’s Spirit holds this Body together and sustains it even with its warts and disfigurements, its wounds. Christ asks us to recognize his presence and that of the Spirit in this all too human Body of Christ we call our Church.