The other day I was feeling disgusted at the depravity of our culture. I am an idealist. I would like the world to be perfect, a place where everyone is striving to follow God. Or if I can’t have that, I’d settle for a world that tolerates people who are striving to follow God and does nothing to hinder their spiritual growth. As we all know, that’s not the world we live in. The “real” world is a fallen world, a world tainted by sin. I don’t like it.
I’m especially bothered when I see the world presenting my children with enticements to sin, or making it hard for them to live for Christ. I don’t remember what happened the other day that tempted me towards despair, but I felt depressed and beaten down when I went to prayer.
But I went to prayer! And I find that if I am truly open in prayer, my fears and frustrations tend to melt away in God’s presence.
This particular day, I was telling God that I wished we were still in the Garden of Eden. I wished we could live in a perfect world, walking with God in the cool of the day. Then the Holy Spirit nudged me. He reminded me that we can.
One day some Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. He told them that it was already here. “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
Ever since our Baptism, the Holy Trinity has been dwelling in our souls. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell there in perfect love and joy. We can enter this kingdom at any time and in any place. When the world around us threatens our peace, we can withdraw into our hearts, where the perfect peace of Heaven exists. We can walk there with God, talk with Him as a man talks to his Friend, find strength, courage, love, and joy.
Now when I start feeling dissatisfaction with my situation–whatever it is–I withdraw for a moment inside myself. I might picture myself walking with God in Eden, or imagine light and love coming from the heart of God. I take a ten-second or one-minute retreat from the world. And when I go back to my duties, I try to remember that the kingdom is still there, waiting for me.
Art for this post on the Kingdom of God within you: Praying Hands, Albert Dürer, 1508, PD-US; La Sainte Trinite (The Holy Trinity), Jean Bourdichon, 1503-1508, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, both Wikimedia Commons.