Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Point of Intersection

If you are not visiting Lent & Beyond daily during this penitential season, take this opportunity to start. The following is courtesy of my dear friends there:

The infinity of space and time separates us from God. How are we to seek for him? How are we to go toward him? Even if we were to walk for hundreds of years, we should do no more than go round and round the world. Even in an airplane we could not do anything else. We are incapable of progressing vertically. We cannot take a step toward the heavens. God crosses the universe and comes to us.

Over the infinity of space and time, the infinitely more infinite love of God comes to possess us. He comes at his own time. We have the power to consent or refuse. If we remain deaf, he comes back again and again like a beggar, but also, like a beggar, one day he stops coming. If we consent, God puts a little seed in us and he goes away again. From that moment, God has no more to do; neither have we, except to wait. We only have not to regret the consent we gave him, the nuptial yes. It is not as easy as it seems, for the growth of the seed within us is painful. Moreover, from the very fact that we accept this growth, we cannot avoid destroying whatever gets in its way, pulling up the weeds, cutting the good grass, and unfortunately the good grass is part of our very own flesh, so this gardening amounts to a violent operation. On the whole, however, the seed grows of itself. A day comes when the soul belongs to God, when it not only consents to love but when truly and effectively it loves. Then in its turn it must cross the universe to go to God. The soul does not love like a creature with created love. The love within it is divine, uncreated; for it is the love of God for God that is passing through it. God alone is capable of loving God. We can only consent to give up our own feelings so as to allow free passage in our soul for this love. That is the meaning of denying oneself. We are created for this consent, and for this alone.

Divine Love crossed the infinity of space and time to come from God to us. But how can it repeat the journey in the opposite direction, starting from a finite creature? When the seed of Divine Love placed in us has grown and become a tree, how can we, who bear it, take it back to its origin? How can we repeat the journey made by God when he came to us, in the opposite direction? How can we cross infinite distance?

It seems impossible, but there is a way—a way with which we are familiar. We know quite well in what likeness this tree is made, this tree that has grown within us, the most beautiful tree where the birds of the air come and perch. We know what is the most beautiful of all trees. “No forest bears its equal.” Something still a little more frightening than a gibbet—that is the most beautiful of all trees. It was the seed of this tree that God placed within us, without our knowing what seed it was. If we had known, we should not have said yes at the first moment. It is this tree that has grown within us and become ineradicable. Only a betrayal could uproot it.

When we hit a nail with a hammer, the whole of the shock received by the large head of the nail passes into the point without any of it being lost, although it is only a point. If the hammer and the head of the nail were infinitely big, it would be just the same. The point of the nail would transmit this infinite shock at the point to which it was applied….

He whose soul remains ever turned toward God though the nail pierces it finds himself nailed to the very center of the universe. It is the true center; it is not in the middle; it is beyond space and time; it is God. In a dimension that does not belong to space, that is not time, that is indeed quite a different dimension, this nail has pierced cleanly through all creation, through the thickness of the screen separating the soul from God.

In this marvelous dimension, the soul, without leaving the place and the instant where the body to which it is united is situated, can cross the totality of space and time and come into the very presence of God.

It is at the intersection of creation and its Creator. This point of intersection is the point of intersection of the arms of the Cross.

Simone Weil

2 comments:

Doubting Thomas said...

Wow!

Albion Land said...

Thomas,

Yes. Wow! Especially the metaphor of the soul and the nail.

But on a closer reading, I have a little problem with the theology.

The first is with the metaphor of the seed.

She says: "If we consent, God puts a little seed in us and he goes away again. From that moment, God has no more to do; neither have we, except to wait."

Perhaps I am missing her point, but God never stops doing if we consent for Him to work in us, and that is our doing, the consent, the openness, the yielding.

The second problem is with the metaphor of the beggar.

She says: "If we remain deaf, he comes back again and again like a beggar, but also, like a beggar, one day he stops coming."

God "the beggar" never stops coming back. But yes, we can become so deaf that we do not hear him the last time(s). And from then, we have consigned ourselves to hell, where our eyes will be opened to the horror of seeing how far away He is and the fact that we can never close the distance, and our ears opened to the silence of His voice.