The Magazine of Marquette University | Summer 2006

 

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S.J. | Some Jottings

God in the background

By Rev. Frank Majka, S.J.
associate director, University Ministry

 
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Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality
University Ministry

This past winter, from late December to mid-January, people in Milwaukee lived without sunshine, andmany of us found ourselves feeling sluggish, tired and depressed. But then one late Saturday afternoon, the sun came out and the world was transformed. Where there had been only buildings and houses and streets against a flat background of unbroken gray, the sky was suddenly painted with streaks of pink and pale blue that gave visual depth and perspective to everything else.

Theologians talk about God as being the background or horizon of life and creation. It seems like a strange, elusive way to talk about God, not as easy to warm up to as the image of God as Father or Mother or Friend. But that January day gave me an inkling of what the image of “background or horizon” might mean. Just as the colors of the sky brought out the richness of other things, the reality and character of God sets the frame and background for everything else that exists. God is the bright and beautiful sky that sets off the beauty of the world, adding depth to it, and putting things in perspective. He gives the world its richness and its proper place.

When we pray, no matter what are our religious traditions, or the forms and methods of prayer we use, we strengthen our awareness of God and grow in the realization that our lives need not feel like an endless succession of cold, gray, gloomy days. As we pray, we find ourselves becoming aware of what — or more accurately Who — lies above and beyond the things around us. As we pray, we find the winter in our souls finally turning into spring.

 

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