It seems that more and more people in today’s society are “concrete” oriented as opposed to abstract oriented. We tend to focus our attentions more on what we can see and touch and not on what is not clearly visible or known. Way back when, prior to our understanding and scientific knowledge we were a people who believed in stories, myths, to help explain the world around us. The stories seemed to concretize the abstractness of the world around us. When I was young and scared of storms (see an earlier post of mine where I describe this more fully) I was told by my parents that the noise I heard from the thunder was that of the “angels bowling”. As a child that explanation made sense to me. As I aged and studied the science of meteorology I understood how the sound of thunder occurs. My knowledge increased yet my sense of wonder decreased. Are we as a society losing a sense of wonder? What are the consequences of losing “wonder”?
I began reflecting on this topic after reading the Gospel passage today as assigned in the Catholic calendar. The passage is from the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 10:
23 Turning to the disciples, Jesus said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, 24 for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
Jesus is letting His followers know that they are witnessing, in Him, what many longed to witness. What a privilege But where does that leave the rest of us? In today’s culture, filled with objective science, is there room for religion and spirituality? How do we find a concreteness in an abstract spirituality?
Maybe the question itself is not the proper question? Does spirituality have to be abstract? In my reflection I see that what Jesus tells His followers is still true for us today. If we truly and deeply consider the world around us, where do we see Jesus and
God? Can we see and appreciate the beauty of God in the beauty of nature? Can we see Him in the actions of others? Can we appreciate the workings of God in the events of our lives? If we can see the world around us in the focus of seeing God and Jesus in it, not only does the world become a better place, but the abstractness of spirituality fades into the concreteness of our objective world. And in that shift the passage from Luke’s Gospel still holds true for us today.
Our challenge is how often we pull over on our life’s journey, find the rest stop, and look around. Look to the sky, look to the ground; be observant of the world around us. What do we see when we simply stop and look?