To turn our attention towards God in religious practice and prayer at times seems more of a disruption to life than an entry into it, more a duty than an offer, more an asceticism than a joy, and more as something that has us missing out on life than entering its depths.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI


However, it can be helpful to tease out more explicitly something we profess in faith, namely, that all that we find attractive, beautiful, irresistible, erotic, and pleasurable here on earth is found, even more fully, inside of its source, God.

God is better looking than any movie star. God is more intelligent than the brightest scientist or philosopher. God is more creative than any artist, writer, or innovator in history. God is more sophisticated than the most-learned person on earth. God is more exuberant than any young person. And, not least, God is more erotic and sexually attractive than any woman, man, or sexual image on earth.

We don’t ordinarily think that or believe this about God, but those statements are as much dogma as are the strictest church-doctrines on record. Everything that is alluring on earth is inside of God, in even a richer form, since God is its author.

That does not take away the power of earthly things to allure, nor should it. Countless things can overwhelm us with their stunning reality: a beautiful person, a sunset, a piece of music, a work of art, youthful exuberance, a baby’s innocence, someone’s wit, feelings of intimacy, feelings of nostalgia, a glass of wine on the right evening, a stirring in our sexuality, or, most deeply of all, an inchoate sense of the uniqueness and preciousness of our own lives.

We need to honor those things and thank God for the gift, even as we make ourselves aware that all of this is found more-richly inside of God and that we lose nothing when virtue, religion, and commitment ask us to sacrifice these things for something higher.

Jesus promises that whatever we give up for what is higher will be given back to us one hundredfold. Knowing this, we should live our lives fully enjoying what is earthy and earthly. The beauties and pleasures of this life are a gift from God, meant to be enjoyed.

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