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Created For Wonder And Awe

Author: Fr Chris Thomas

Picture: Pixabay

Created For Wonder And Awe

We can discover the footprints of God everywhere- including in difficulties and brokenness, says Chris Thomas.

We human beings are created with a huge capacity for awe and wonder, to see and know the presence of God everywhere and to delight in it.

For five years, the parish community that I was part of ran a project to help homeless people. One of the men who used to come was Patrick.

He was a lovely man who told me he could not remember a day when he had not drunk. He told me that, as a baby, his Dad used to put Guinness in his bottle to keep him quiet.

Patrick always wore a big sheriff’s hat with a huge sheriff’s badge on his chest and under the coat he wore was everything he possessed.

His pockets were always full of bottles and he cut a fearsome sight as he staggered along the high street in our town.

Furious And Angry

His alcoholism had led him to become epileptic. One day I opened the door to find that Patrick, having had a fit, was completely disorientated. He had wet himself and dirtied himself and was in a real state.

I was furious. I was angry with Patrick for letting himself get in that state. I was angry with the sort of society that let people like Patrick get in that state. I was angry with myself for being angry.

I brought him in, sat him down and eventually got him to agree to undress so that we could help him.

I sat with him until he was almost naked, and then, very gently, began to wash his poor emaciated body. He was covered with sores, and the dirt was ingrained, but Patrick sat there and let me do it.

The Marvels of God

As I helped him, and he helped himself, I was filled with a real love for this poor, broken man and I knew that it was because somehow God was present in him.

I was filled again with that sense of awe and wonder at the marvels of God. Here in this poor, broken man, this cracked damaged vessel, was the treasure the Gospels speak of.

I was aware again of the sanctity of life from conception to the grave.

I realised, at more than an intellectual level, why we have to make a stand against those things that would limit human life, because God has chosen to dwell within us.

I Hope You Dance

I love the song I Hope You Dance by Ronan Keating. Several lines in that song help me reflect on the invitation to live in the blessing of God, that invigorates and refreshes us.

One of them is this: “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.”

Time and time again, I miss the magic and mystery present in another human being. I lose that sense of awe and forget how much I need to spend time reflecting on every experience I have to become aware.

When that process of reflection is happening, we will see God in the strangest places and the strangest of people-indeed, within ourselves.

Touch The Infinite

Every moment in life is about encountering mystery and uniqueness in the people we meet, those we like and those we don’t.  

Are we open each moment to the opportunity to recognise the footprints of God in the difficulties of the day and the precious moments of goodness? Are we so filled with wonder that others are encouraged to see beyond and touch the infinite?

Each second is about seeing the presence of God and rejoicing in it.

It changes our perspective and we begin to live in a wonderful world overwhelmed by the presence of God.

  • This article is adapted from a chapter in When Did We Stop Skipping?  by Chris Thomas, New Life Publishing. It costs £8.99 and can be ordered online: www.goodnewsbooks.co.uk or by phone:01582571011

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