So yesterday I'm doing a wee bit of housecleaning, and am being troubled by thoughts of the past, and vague dissatisfactions with the present, and the dangling enticements of escapism from current blandness.
I kept on with the housecleaning, and as I did, there was the subtly growing awareness of God. Not God as the scowling martinet, the procrustean rigorist and rules-maker, the overzealous cop eager to place me under arrest -- but God as refuge. As refuge, as harbor, as haven, as peace, as strength.
Such language is, of course, as old as the Psalms, but to me it has always been just language: words that did not carry the force of a living Reality. But yesterday in the middle of the housecleaning, it did strike me -- albeit in a dim, inchoate matter -- that God is indeed, refugium nostrum, our refuge.
An addendum that I hope is not irrelevant: I have begun perusing Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits (Loyola Press, 2005). In the prayers of these members of the Company, both the ancient and the modern, there is the very vivid awareness of God as benevolence more than wrath, of God as joy and not killjoy, of God as an almost maternally loving father -- in short, as refuge, as shelter, as harbor, as haven.
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.