Our Capacity For Reverence

There is something deeply sacred about every presence.  When we become blind to this, we violate Nature and turn our beautiful world into a wasteland.  We treat people as if they were disposable objects.  We lament today the absence of God and the demise of the sacred.  Yet it is ourselves who have killed God.  The world today is just as full of sacred presence as it was centuries ago.  With the hardening of our minds we are no longer able to feel and sense the ever-present-sacred the way our ancestors did.  Our arrogance and greed have killed the gods.  Unknown to us, the suppression of Divine Presence exacts a terrible price, because Nature and person lose their inner divinity when the gods depart.  Past generations were often victims of a bleak, monolithic god who suppressed all creativity; we recognize the authority of no god and much of our creativity is monstrous.  Dostoyevsky said, ‘If God does not exist, everything is permitted.’  All the horizons become flattened and the wells dry up.  We no longer walk the earth with wonder.  We have purchased the fatal ticket.  Instead of being guests of the earth, we are now crowded passengers on the runaway train of progress and productivity; the windows are darkened and we can no longer see out.  The gadgets and games in each compartment are quite fascinating.  There is constant theatre.  Public relations experts offer sensational help in manicuring the image and searching out the best sound-bite.  Even if we wanted to alight, no one seems able to stop the train.

We desperately need to retrieve our capacity for reverence.  Each day that is given to you is full of the shy graciousness of divine tenderness.  It is a lovely practice at night to spend a little while revisiting the invisible sanctuaries of your lived day.  Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder.  We let our days fall away like empty shells and miss all the treasure.

— John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes, pp 76-77


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