Our Spiritual Home
Recently a friend of mine sent me an awesome article written by Claire Dwyer, a freelance columnist for the National Catholic Register. In this article, entitled “My Father’s House,” Claire speaks about the importance of mankind’s constant search for a place in this world to set roots down and encounter God. I found her articulation of this spiritual seeking for a place to rest to be something that resonated deeply within my own heart.
Her article reminded me of how important it has been for me, over my many years of formation for the priesthood, to find places that became sort of landmarks for me to encounter God. How certain places just immediately put me at ease to the divine presence, and alert me to the fact that God is alive and communicating with us. Whether it be a particular church, a retreat center, a special cross or religious picture at our residence, there are just certain things that immediately open us up to the presence of God in our lives. Below is an excerpt from Claire Dwyer’s article that I hope touches your own human experience of seeking the Divine in this world as it did me:
“It is always a wonder that a God unlimited by time and space binds Himself to it in each moment and corner where we encounter Him. And it is a fact that He creates places for us. Since Eden, He carves out spaces and hovers over our chaos to help us make rooms and homes, chapels and churches that speak to us of something holy here, and point to something holy beyond.
“Isn’t this the reason for pilgrimages and crusades – to entwine ourselves in the holy history of a place, to pay our respects to grace in the gardens it grew, to reclaim with fierce loyalty the holy lands and buildings for the Church which sprung from the blood of the martyrs in its soil? Something hardwired in us tells us, these places are consecrated to resurrect our hope. And we feel somehow, entering a Basilica, chapel, catacomb, or cell – even after crossing strange seas and deserts – that we have in a mysterious way come home.
“Our hearts long for home because we were created for one. We were made for a place. In this life, it is one which reflects us, but even more, reflects God, and reminds us of what – and who – we love. One where we cooperate with the Spirit to create a kind of beauty and order. One where we can exhale and find little sabbaths amid the chaos of the world. An anticipation of a place reserved for an eternal Sabbath.
“And is it not a miracle that we have a God who pitches his own tent in our wilderness? Who, unwilling to leave us alone until that time when He will come again to take us to Himself, comes now to remain in the Tabernacle (literally, “dwelling place”)? He takes up residence in every Church and what’s more, in every soul. He makes in us His own kind of heaven. He desires to be with us, to the point of dwelling within us. It’s astonishing, really.”