Heaven in Ordinary

A new tweet from my friend Joyce Smith. She makes this important observation.

This little bird reminds me that in looking for the exotic and colourful, I often overlook the wonder in the ‘ordinary

God can be found in our ordinary lives.

TERESA of Avila  was sometimes referred to as ‘God’s Gadbout‘ because she spent a lot of her energy in founding convents of nuns throughout Spain in the 16th century.  She was forever on the move and yet she is remembered best for her teaching about Prayer and particularly about Contemplative prayer which requires stillness.  No matter how busy she was – and she was very busy – she made sure her heart was constantly fixed on God, whom she referred to as Your Majesty, though not always politely! God for her was very near.  Indeed she coined a famous phrase – ‘God walks among the pots and pans’. We find God in the ordinariness of life, and if we train ourselves to recognize that, we shall meet Him in the everyday events of our lives and in the people we meet.  This is about finding Heaven in Ordinary.

Teresa believed that God was within us as well as beside us, and here she took up our Lord’s own teaching that the Kingdom of God is within us.  We encounter Him in the silent depths of our hearts.

You know that God is everywhere, she says, which is a great truth; wherever God dwells there is heaven, and you may feel sure that all which is glorious is near His Majesty.

Then she refers to St Augustine who sought God in many places and at last found the Almighty within himself.  We don’t need to go to heaven to find God, she says, We are not forced to take wings to find Him, but have only to seek solitude and to look within ourselves.

She calls this seeking God in solitude within ourselves the prayer of Recollection – or Contemplation.  In her work Interior Castle she develops this using the imagery of a King in his Palace.

Let us realize that we have within us a most splendid palace built entirely of gold and precious stones – in short, one that is fit for such a Lord – and that we are partly responsible for the condition of this building, because there is no structure so beautiful as the soul full of pure virtues, and the more perfect these virtues are, the more brilliantly do the jewels shine

What we find in this Palace is the mighty King who, she says,  has deigned to become your Father and Who is seated on a throne of precious value, by which I mean your heart.
Realizing this took her quite a while.:

Had I understood always, as I do now, that so great a King resided in my soul I should not have left Him alone so often, but should have stayed with Him sometimes and not kept His dwelling place in such disorder.

For Teresa, then, it is when we enter into silence and spend a little time with God in our hearts that the soul makes progress in the prayer.  God becomes the centre of our being, always to be found when we still the voices of the world that claim so much of our attention.

Teresa says that it is only through silence that we can encounter the love of God and receive it into our hearts. 
God is very near.  We should seek him within. He is much closer to us than we might imagine.
We are not ordinary to Him who loves us to be near to His heart.
Of course, it is when we recognize this that we are actually quite extraordinary!

The Sparrow knows the answer!

Even if it fell to the ground our heavenly Father will notice! See Matthew 10:32. and Psalm 84:3 where the sparrow and her mate, the swallow, find a dwelling place in God’s house where they may quietly and safely lay their young.

That’s why the sparrow is a long way from ordinary. Just like us!

[Joyce & Mr G]

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