An Immense Sea

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Did St. Gregory of Nyssa ever stand at a place like this? He must have:

“The feelings that come as one stands on a high mountain peak and looks down onto some immense sea are the same feelings that come to me when I look out from the high mountain peak of the Lord’s words into the incomprehensible depths of his thoughts.

“When you look at mountains that stand next to the sea, you will often find that they seem to have been cut in half, so that on the side nearest the sea there is a sheer drop and something dropped from the summit will fall straight into the depths. Someone who looks down from such a peak will become dizzy, and so too I become dizzy when I look down from the high peak of these words of the Lord: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“These words offer the sight of God to those whose hearts have been purified and purged. But look: St John says No-one has seen God. The Apostle Paul’s sublime mind goes further still: What no man has seen and no man can see. This is the slippery and crumbling rock that seems to give the mind no support in the heights. Even the teaching of Moses declared God to be a rock that was so inaccessible that our minds could not even approach it: No-one can see the Lord and live.
“To see God is to have eternal life – and yet the pillars of our faith, John and Paul and Moses, say that God cannot be seen. Can you understand the dizziness of a soul that contemplates their words? If God is life, whoever does not see God does not see life. If the prophets and the Apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, attest that God cannot be seen, does this not wreck all the hopes of man?
 “It is the Lord who sustains our floundering hope, just as he sustained Peter when he was floundering in the water, and made the waters firm beneath his feet. If the hand of the Word stretches out to us as well, and sets us firm in a new understanding when these speculations have made us lose our balance, we shall be safe from fear, held safe in the guiding hand of the Word. Blessed, he says, are those who possess a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

8 thoughts on “An Immense Sea

  1. Orlando

    I love to get lost and confused and delighted every time I read the begining chapters of St Augustine’s Cofessions. My reading turns into prayer. My view from the cliff side takes me beyond the ocean to the ends of the galaxies where our infinite God embraces the universe. It is too much for me. Yet all I have to do is to look into my little heart and “see”that same God resting there lovingly. Wow!


  2. isabel nepomuceno

    My “immense coffee mug” has on one side Mary and Child and on the other side ” Blessed are the pure of heart…” and “Blessed are the poor in spirit….”. How comforting to “see” God every morning in my humble cup and the Suffering Christ (crucifixes) on the wall accompanied by the prayer “May All I Do Today”. What more can I ask for?.


  3. Gloria

    I have never seen God, but I can “see” God.

    I Can See God

    I read a comment that said
    “You can’t see the wind,
    so how can you see God?”
    Well, I have news
    for the questioner.

    I can see the wind
    as leaves flutter in the breeze,
    as it bends huge tree branches,
    as the windmill whirls around,
    as the wind changes the morning
    from hazy and humid
    to clear and bright.

    I can smell the wind
    before the rain starts and
    in the scent of lilies and roses;
    in the garden soil after the rain.

    I can hear the wind
    as it sighs in the pine trees,
    as it roars in a storm,
    as it whispers in the grasses.

    I can taste the wind
    when I stick out my tongue
    to catch raindrops or snowflakes.

    I can “see” God everywhere!

    Gloria Ziemienski
    July 2009


  4. vhoagland Post author

    Thanks, Isabel, immensity in a grain of saint, and in a coffee cup. Thanks for the visit. FV


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