From My Urban Cell
by Jess Matias
How many of us wish that we can touch the divine, to cling on to the Spirit of the heavens, in the midst of all this dreary anxiety!
Like most of you, I live outside the ethereal firmament of the cloister, in which one can feel the closeness of the Spirit and the tranquillity of creation, in an urban cell surrounded by everything I hope the Spirit will protect me from. I live in an urban cell filled with chaos … and questions.
I live with my family. I live with the noise of everyday concerns, of the need to wake up before the end of a good night’s sleep; of the need to take care of my children going to school; of the need to rush to work by enduring about two hours of traffic for a destination less than five kilometres away; of the need to make the most people happy at work; of the need of winding down the day before all the stress takes over my sedentary systems, filled to the brim with cholesterol; of the need to remember that I should be more physically active at my advancing age; of the need to review all issues at home and work, to prepare for the next day’s grind; and not to forget – never to forget – that the Spirit is waiting in between those spaces in time.
I cannot hope yet to be the contemplative I would wish to become when all my concerns have passed into happy memory. It would be nice if I would really have all those moments on my hands, to gaze at the Spirit!
But come to think of it, the Spirit needs to be seen, not in the peacefulness of the moment, but in the confusion and mayhem of life. It is in chaos that order is seen; it is in obscurity that clarity is perceived; it is in crises that God is present. I will love God more, with my suffering.
To be a contemplative is not only to see the Spirit, but to fully appreciate its presence, to be thankful that we are, and that we will become what God wishes us to be. The Spirit is the love that guides and beckons; it is the Spirit that seeks to cover us in its mantle of protection. It is the Spirit that calls us to itself.
And the Spirit in my eyes, comes to life only in this existence, in which the politics and economics of money, power and fame speaks shamefully of the achievements of our civilization. What progress can we speak of in the midst of human misery? The Spirit is our social conscience, and mine. It is the Sprit that calls me to act…
Let my life be a continuous contemplation of the Spirit. Let my life be in active participation of social transformation.
Welcome to my urban cell!