It’s amazing how after such a strong storm on Sunday, Monday was one of the best days of the year – mid seventies and beautiful sunshine. And the rest of the week looks like it is going to be great as well!
There are many stories in the Old and New Testaments about storms and the calm that comes after a storm: Noah’s ark (Genesis 7); Elijah standing on the mountain before God (1 Kings 19); Jesus calming the sea (Mark 4). On a spiritual level storms represent times in our lives when we feel lost, confused, unsure, or perhaps torn apart by our own selfishness and worldly goals. The Lord allows us to go through states like this, in part so that the more selfish and worldly parts of us can be broken up and gotten rid of. “Stormy” times can also help us to recognize how much we need the Lord in our lives.
With the absolutely gorgeous weather this week, I asked myself, “What is it that can bring this kind of peace and serenity to my life on a spiritual level? What has the power to calm the storms that arise in my own heart and mind?” I found many helpful answers to this question, but one of the best came from the the book Arcana Caelestia. In this book Emanuel Swedenborg is led to unfold the spiritual meaning contained within the stories of Genesis and Exodus. While explaining how the seven days of creation represent seven stages in our own spiritual regeneration, the point is made that during this process the Lord is continually fighting for us against evils and falsities. This combat continues as long as we insist on living selfish and worldly lives. So when does this combat cease? When we finally allow the Lord to lead us into a state where love acts as the primary thing in our life. In other words, I will find find peace and calm in my life only when I allow my love for the Lord and neighbor to guide all of my affections, thoughts, and actions:
“Meanwhile the Lord is constantly fighting on his behalf against evils and falsities and by these conflicts is confirming him in truth and good. The hour of conflict is the hour when the Lord is at work, which is why in the Prophets the regenerate person is called ‘the work of God’s fingers’. Nor does He rest until love is playing the leading part, at which point conflict ceases. When that work has reached the point where faith has been joined to love, it is then called ‘very good’, for the Lord then moves him to be a likeness of Himself.” (Arcana Caelestia 63)
What a peaceful and calm life it would be if we would only allow our love for the Lord and our love for our neighbor to guide all that we do! So simple….yet so hard! Thank you Irene for the good life lesson.