Benign yearning at the heart of the universe

The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hunts our spirit; and the more it touches it, the greater our hunger and our craving.

The inward stirring, Blessed John Ruysbroek, Flemish 14th century

We love because he first loves us. (1 John 4:19) In being lifted up I will draw all men to myself. (John 12:32)

Eros pulses through creation

Given my torpor and questionable faithfulness I find it helpful to be pointed to tradition’s view that what ‘filled the universe was a spirit of yearning or longing which came from God and returned to God…known as Eros’. Longing is already set as a pulse through creation, coming from God and also returning to him. It echoes through our bodies, grows up from the soil beneath us, is the air we breathe. We connect with it poorly perhaps, abberantly at times. But we do love, and we love because he first loves us. He is source and end. He leaves a trail and scent for those to follow - through his elevation, through story and splashes of unexpected joy.

Having our heads turned

Ruysbroek invokes very sensuous words: touch, hunger, yearning and craving. He depicts a God who hunts. His ‘benign yearning (eros) for all’ is what draws us to Him. It’s been said that suffering and love are the only real things that transform us. For sure, to be desired turns the head, it softens the tough heart and in believing draws out native love. It breathes life into weary lungs. Love is compelling and contagious, causing us to lift our heads to the sky and separate our expectant lips as per Ellen Bass's poem Gate C22 read by Garrison Keillor. To receive the love of God is not a luxury but a basic necessity and the kiss of life. It is not a peck at the altar.

A thought: Consider your breathing for five minutes. Periodically imagine your in breaths as receiving God's love into your body and your outbreaths as your expression of love for God.

Quotes 1 Melvyn Matthews, Awake to God: Explorations in the mystical way , 2 Pseudo-Denys,6th century writer