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There is a story about three little fish that captures the essence of growing in awareness of the presence of God.   Carolyn Gratton in her book The Art of Spiritual Guidance tells it this way: 

 

It seems that once there was some fish who spent their days swimming around in search of water.  Anxiously looking for their destination, they shared their worries and confusion with each other as they swam.  One day they met a wise fish and asked him the questions that had preoccupied them for so long: "Where is the sea?"  The wise fish answered: "If you stop swimming so busily and struggling so anxiously, you would discover that you are already in the sea.  You need look no further than you already are."

Just as the sea surrounds the fish, God's presence surrounds us continually and yet we often miss it swimming (and sometimes drowning) in our busy lives.  As Richard Foster expounds, "our Adversary the devil majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied."  (Celebration of Discipline, p15).

 

For some of us, reducing activities and commitments might be part of the answer.  But for many of us, it is not.  We have family and vocational callings that require incredible expenditures of time and energy.  Instead the invitation is to quiet our spirits in order to be able to commune with God and become aware of His presence in the midst of our activities.  This is the heart of Ignatian spirituality: Finding God in all things. 

 

Ignatian scholar Michael Ivens suggests that, "Immediate reality in a sense is the raw material of our relationship with God; it is for the most part precisely in and through our commerce with this reality that our praise, reverence, and service of God come about." (p30).  In other words, it is in the entirety of all our daily exchanges - our conversations, encounters, tasks, errands, hobbies - where we have the opportunity to meet and serve God.  Each moment is a gift of God giving Himself to us expressing His love and will for our lives.    

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