A Big Feeling
Feelings are messy things. They complicate our lives. They enhance our lives. They run our lives. Take an inventory of the feelings you experienced yesterday. Here is my inventory: calm, doubt, happiness, frustration, disappointment, anger, inadequacy, compassion, and love. All that before noon.
Feelings seem to be part and parcel of the human life, not something God could be bothered with or would want to be bothered with. So, when I am confronted with the notion that God has feelings, it gives me pause.
Fr. Richard Rohr, in his daily meditations on The Prophets, says;
We know and we feel; if we are children of God, then somehow what characterizes our heart and humanity must be reflected in who God is. Maybe the only way to get a handle on who God is, is to speak of desire, to speak of anger, to speak of longing, to speak of love.
Prophets help humanity experience the pathos of God, the pain, the feeling, the longing, the desire of God…
If teachers give us the ideas of God, then prophets give us the feelings of God.
Scripture tells us of God’s feelings: the pain at the hard heartedness of humanity, the jealousy for the love of His people, the anger in the temple, the grief at the tomb of Lazarus, the fear in the garden, the compassion for His wandering people in the desert.
The feeling of God that I can’t seem to wrap my head around is His thirst for me, for you. The God of the universe desperately longs to love you and me and to be loved by you and me. Now that’s a big feeling.
I mentioned the book I Thirst, by Fr. Joseph Langford, M.C. last week in my blog. He was an intimate friend of Mother Teresa. In his forty-day reflections for Lent, he helps us grasp that big feeling that God has for us using Scripture and quotes from Mother Teresa. “St. Teresa of Calcutta was a woman known and loved for her tender work among the poorest of the poor. Behind her drive and desire to serve Christ’s poor was a profound understanding of the thirst of God for man and man’s thirst for God.”
Imagine if we could cultivate a profound understanding of that reality, the reality that fueled Mother Teresa’s life. That is what I am hoping for this Lent: To enter into a deeper awareness and experience of God’s thirst for me, and my thirst for God. To wrestle with the truth that God has feelings for me, big feelings. And you too.
Won’t you join me?
I hope you will consider joining us in a Lenten study of the book I Thirst. The book is divided up into 40 short reflections meant to be read each day of Lent. We will start our reading on Ash Wednesday, then meet two times during Lent to share our experiences and insights. The meetings will be on Tuesday, March 14 and Tuesday, April 4 at 10:30-11:30 In-Person at Firstfruits. Fee: FSD (Facility Support Donation; suggested $5 per meeting donation)
To order your book to begin reading on Ash Wednesday, click on this link.