December 12, 2007

First Principle and Foundation

One of my first tasks in going through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in 2005 was to meditate on the First Principle and Foundation and come up with my own way of saying it: Why do I exist?

My cat Rosie would lounge on my lap during these meditations…napping, dozing, stretching, purring, and just generally reveling in my company. I began to notice her more and more, and to think that maybe she was onto something. Maybe God’s reason for creating me is like my reason for keeping Rosie: I don’t need her, but I do love her.

One day I was talking to my spiritual director about this, and he leaned over and took a book of poetry from his shelf and read D. H. Lawrence’s “Pax” to me.


All that matters is to be at one with the living God
to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.

Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,
at home, at home in the house of the living,
sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.

Sleeping on the hearth of the living world
yawning at home before the fire of life
feeling the presence of the living God
like a great reassurance
a deep calm in the heart
a presence
as of the master sitting at the board
in his own and greater being,
in the house of life.

—D.H. Lawrence

I took the poem with me into my meditations. So…all that matters is for me to be in my right place with God, and my right place is like that of a cat asleep by the fire in a great, orderly, prosperous household? Humbling. This metaphor neutralizes any fantasy of being a hero, of being the linchpin of any operation of real consequence.

I can’t figure out how life works, I can’t control people or events or God. But I am loved, valued, part of the household, employed, and in a close relationship with my inexplicable God.