To the Colossians, Paul said, “In him, in bodily form, lives divinity in all its fullness.” Yes, divinity in all its fullness. In him, and in us too, since we have put on Christ. We walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him.
There was joy in our house when I was a little child, mum singing to us, feeding us, keeping us warm, tucking us in bed with a kiss. And how I loved to be with Dad out on the farm: rain, flowers, animals. I was entranced by the night sky, a bright canopy of stars you could almost touch. Majesty and beauty everywhere. Dad took a handful of soil, “This Mallee soil is wonderful. All it needs is rain.”
We learned our prayers, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Heaven and earth. Mystery, radiance. In that environment, I felt the joy of life in God. I caught from my parents a sense that, in the words of today’s psalm, “The LORD is good to all.”
When I was a child, my friends and I enjoyed playing “mass” together, regardless of gender. However, I always imagined myself following in my father’s footsteps and learning the intricate skills required to maintain a farm and the interconnectedness of all life that it entails. Every day, my family would gather in the kitchen to pray the rosary, with my siblings and I kneeling beside our parents. We recited fifty Hail Marys and then added additional prayers to express our devotion and ask for God’s help during difficult times.
Today, Luke says, “Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” Around my twelfth birthday, in awe of the local priest in his generous service, in poverty and loneliness, but highly respected, I began to imagine “doing good” as a priest. Thus, I entered a long and rocky road on which I still struggle to follow the Lord, pouring himself out for all, especially the poor and outsiders. The mountain is still in front of me, the mountain where Jesus spent the night in prayer to God.
Dreams are as wild and grand as the universe. Our steps may be tiny, we may be human, weak, prone to losing our way, and yet we must not forget that in us, too, in bodily form, lives divinity in all its fullness.
Jeff Foale is an Australian Passionist living in Vietnam, a former New Guinea missionary with a passion for service of the poor and refugees and who loves life in all its forms and enjoys photography.