When our daughter was growing up, she hated birthdays. While the presents were fun, she would often cry, lamenting that her age number had changed. She mourned the loss of her clothes that she had outgrown and felt that throwing anything away was a betrayal. Even at two, when it was time to give up her pacifier, she cried and said, “I don’t think I’ll make it, Mommy.” My little drama girl had a hard time letting go. Without the benefit of adult eyes that could understand that getting rid of the old made space for the new, she just felt loss and that we were torturing her.
Several years ago, our spiritual director introduced us to the concept of Capax Dei—a term used by Augustine and others for making space for God. This idea of making space for God flew in the face of my training to do Christian activities (daily devotions, hand prayer, inductive Bible study) so that I will grow and be able to do even more Christian activities. Not that those disciplines aren’t important, but somehow the activity itself began to fill the space that the presence of God was meant to fill. I had found activities that filled the space but didn’t connect my heart to the One who wanted me to know Him.
Henri Nouwen stated that “Lent is a time of returning to God. It is a time to confess how we keep looking for joy, peace, and satisfaction in the many people and things surrounding us without really finding what we desire. Only God can give us what we want. So, we must be reconciled with God…The season of Lent, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.”
Over the next few weeks, we want to take a reflective look at making space for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Are we paying attention to His presence in the midst of the fullness of life?
ACTION: Just to whet our appetites, take a few minutes and listen to this song by Stefanie Gretzinger. Let your mind ponder on what your flesh wants to hold on to for security, for significance, for belonging. Are you willing to let go today in order to make space for God?