I drove to Maghera last Saturday morning to attend my godson’s First Holy Communion.
It was a beautiful morning and as I drove over the Glenshane Pass I remembered a similar morning thirteen years ago when I made the same journey to attend the wedding of my godson’s parents. As I approached the far side of Dungiven I had to brake abruptly to allow a family of ducks to cross the main road the far side of Dungiven. I’m presuming it was the mother duck who led the seven or eight ducklings across the road, simply because the bird looked bossy and cross. More to the point it was Saturday morning and the father duck or drake - for the more naturally in tune - was probably still in bed or had cleared off with his mates.
Seriously, it was one of those timeless if not surreal scenes and as I came to a halt there wasn’t another car on the road. Time stood still to allow the ducks to cross the road safely and disappear into an adjoining field. On these occasions the power of nature can overwhelm the onlooker. The maternal care guiding the simple ordered procession revealed so much of the bond of trust and faith between parent and offspring. Without fear the tiny ducks allowed themselves to be led safe in the knowledge that they were not on their own amid all the dangers and threats posed by a large and at times overwhelming world. I know it’s a basic reflection but God is often found hidden in the mundane.
In the Ascension Jesus explains how he must return to the Father so the gift of the Holy Spirit could be sent upon the church. God can found in the world around us and especially in our relationships with one another. The Holy Spirit resides in our hearts ensuring God can be found in the smallest detail of everyday life. Being created in the image and likeness of God we’re made to be in relationship, as such each of us has the responsibility to help one another to become more Godlike. The key is being able to recognise how God is present in our hearts as well as being found in the lives and our relationships with family, friends, neighbour or stranger.
Ron Rolheiser explains how ‘God lies inside us, deep inside, but in a way that’s almost non-existent, almost unfelt, largely unnoticed, and easily ignored. However, while that presence is never overpowering, it has within it a gentle force, guiding us towards something higher. God lies inside us as an invitation that fully respects our freedom, never overpowers us; but also never goes away. Unlike almost everything else that’s trying to get our attention, God never tries to overwhelm us. God, more than anyone else, respects our freedom. For this reason, God lies everywhere, inside us and around us, almost unfelt, largely unnoticed, and easily ignored, a quiet, gentle nudge; but, if drawn upon, the ultimate stream of love and energy’.