“My higher power is Jesus, who I believe is God made human. I celebrate Christmas because I believe God, who is often thought to be distant and powerful (like The Wizard of Oz), is also with us and is willing to be weak. God is love. Love unites persons, and to love, you must let yourself be vulnerable and weak. God is no exception.
It makes no sense to say, “I will love you but must be in control of our relationship at every moment.” Lovers lead and follow. Love conquers and surrenders. When couples pledge their love and promise to be with their beloved in good times and bad, sickness and health, until death do us part, I believe they’re surrendering themselves into a harmony built into the universe by its creator.
I believe that love extends to everybody in the universe. It’s not my business to limit God’s love or to say that these conditions must first be met for you to qualify as a candidate for God’s love. I’m not in charge of your idea of a higher power. I’m a Catholic. That word means universal. I believe God loves everybody wildly, extravagantly, beyond belief and beyond belief systems.
Jesus is sometimes called the human face of God. In this chapter I’ll describe the canine face of God: Toto.
In The Wizard of Oz I believe he is the higher power, God with us, love enfleshed. Toto is omnipresent. He’s with Dorothy always, on the earth or off it, in good times and in bad. Even before we meet new companions we’ve got a fellow traveler, the faithful friend who has been and is always with us: Toto.”
-From Chapter 12: “Do You Believe in Dog?” from And Toto Too: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure by Nathan G. Castle, O.P.
This past Sunday was known as “The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity” for Catholics around the world. “The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity” is a fancy title for a day that we celebrate the relational nature of God as three persons in one being.
Understanding the Trinity can be complicated if we furrow our brows and focus on theological definitions. Understanding the Trinitarian nature of God can be much simpler and more joy-filled when we take it in with a sense of awe and wonder at the poetic experience of relationship with God.
My favorite part of Trinity Sunday is part of the first reading from the Book of Proverbs:
Thus says the wisdom of God:
“When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race.”
We can’t love and be in control all the time. But we can love and give delight to our beloved.
The best of our stories (like The Wizard of Oz) and our poetry describe God as always with us, delighting in us, loving us wildly and extravagantly and longing for us to return that loving attention. Let’s take some time to meditate on our own experience of God with us…
How have you noticed God’s loving attention lately? How is God most present to you? How do you experience God “enfleshed”?
How do you think God delights in you?
What part of your relationship with God seems too controlling? How can you grow in being vulnerable to God’s love?
Have a delightful holiday weekend!