Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finding God in the mountains II

This was written in August. With Winter Storm Warnings in Squaw Valley I decided to revisit my words. I have a love affair with the mountains. I first climbed Mt Washington in eigth grade with a group from the Science Center in New London. In recent years it has been a semiyearly ritual with some friends to make the climb. Today as I glanced at Mt Granite Chief in Squaw Valley it was as if He were challenging me. Come on....give me the best that you have. I was hesitant, alone, and yet, felt one with the universe. Hawks were circling overhead. Well...if I don't make it at least they will have a meal. I huddled under the remaining tree and said yo myself...this is good enough. Then I got up ....why...only anyone who has faced a challenge can relate. I trudged forward step by step and before I knew it I was there. The feeling is universal-perhaps it is someone going through rehab and intensive physical therapy. Perhaps it is someone fighting cancer. Maybe it is one of our country's great heroes....the soldiers who return without limbs and broken psyches. Whatever it is, we all have our mountains,our crosses to bear. St John of the Cross wrote his most moving and beautiful poetry while in a jail. His own religious order imprisoned hom in Toledo Spain because they did not like his spirituality. He drew a picture of the Ascent of Mount Carmel. The straight path to the summit of God is nada, nada, nada.(nothing,nothing,nothing). All the virtues, all of our good works, all of the external things we rely upon are nothing if we do not rely upon Him. Many people turn to God when everything else fails....a marriage...loss of a job...so on and so on. That is ok, but God wants to be our Abba, our daddy.He knows we will fall but he wants us to trust Him and trust in His love. Today as I approached the summit I realized how exposed and vulnerable I was and still am. "To the heights" Blessed Pier Giorgio said.Our Lord wants to lead us, like Elijah, to Mt Horeb, the mountain of God. This is something that is accesible to everyone. Why? Because one does not need to go to the mountain. All that is necessary is that we wash the feet of others where we are right now. In the book "The Eighty Dollar Champion "Harry de Leyer spent his life looking for a thouroughbred that would make him a winner. The thoroughbred never came, instead it was a work horse with great undeveloped talent that was waiting for him to be the one to make him a champion. If you want to reach the heights of love of God and neighbor...heed the words of St John of the Cross :"where there is no love put love and you will draw out love....and "I went so low, so low, to go so high." Harry de Leyer went low....he cleaned the horses...did the grunt work...spent the time to train, cutivate a horse with tremeondous untapped talent. The result? One of the most successful horse jumpers in American history. "Snowman" was just moments from going to the slaughterhouse. He was so grateful his life became one great hymn of praise. St. Paul has a phrase in his letter to the ephesians-a phrase that should inspire all of us-"For the praise of His glory." That is why you and I exist. Our life is to be a hymn to the "praise of God's glory." This can be done on a mountaintop, or this can be done in cleaning the stall of a work horse. All of us can make of our lives "something beautiful for God."

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