Order in the soul depends on acquiring and practicing virtues. The most foundational virtue is faith in the sense of trust in the presence of God, who orders a person by love and wisdom. This kind of faith is not mere religious beliefs or intellectual thoughts, but a trusting, loving opening of the soul to the presence of the unseen God. The soul unattuned to divine presence will live a life of disorder, rebellion, self-centeredness, addictions, deceit, lying, and so on. The human soul open to God’s presence, responsive to God, cooperating with the divine, is capable of true love, fidelity, prudent and responsible action, self-control, human friendship, generosity.
An essential part of ordering one’s life is openness to the truth of reality. Acceptance of truth requires one to break from untruths, from fantasy worlds, from delusions and illusions. The human being unaware of divine presence in the soul and in the cosmic order (reality) becomes a prey to destructive forces, to manipulation by power elites and propaganda, to the wiles of advertisers, to “values” and empty-headed opinions, to unruly passions. To be attuned to the truth of reality, on the contrary, means an active awareness of one’s sharing in the mysterious Whole in which beings and things exist. We are partners in the Whole of reality, and this Whole remains largely beyond our wishes and control. Reality can break into lives with a suddenness and fury that leave one bewildered and humbled. How foolish we human beings are to think that we can remake or control the vast, mysterious Whole in which we exist for a short period.
Reality can and will break in. Many of us experienced a powerful reminder of the uncontrollable ways of reality this past week when a sudden fury pounded us with wind, rain, hail. It came, it shock up our little worlds, and it departed. Destroyed crops, damaged trees, wounded gardens, broken windows: reminders of our vulnerability to natural powers beyond our control, and of our own littleness in the scheme of things, in the timeless cosmic Whole existing time and time after.
“Make us know the shortness of life, that we may gain wisdom of heart.”