This week I happened to return to the topic of Nietzsche (the German philosopher) for one evening. (Shows what happens to my mind when my wife is away for a few weeks ). Anyway, I was reflecting on his rejection of Christianity and his encouragement of man to focus on obtaining power to realize satisfaction and happiness in life. While none of us need a lecture in the dangers of focusing on power alone to meet our needs, it is interesting to note man’s frustration at our efforts to control mother nature and one another.
This can be a dangerous balancing act, where our spiritual life comes a sad second to meeting the other more important need of a relationship with God. I say that not in some pompous or righteous manner, but rather just because the more we focus on ourselves, the greater the distance we separate ourselves from God. Just like an addiction, and we all have them to a greater or lesser extent.
Sometimes we have to bow to mother nature. This week was another one of evacuation, power outages and many, many stories of people helping people. It should never be a surprise, but the best does come out when we are called to action; a very reassuring feeling, one which distracts us from our own wishes and to move towards those in need.
On a personal note, I saw this in action on an informal all-night vigil held on the “What’s App” phone application this week. My brother in law was undergoing open heart surgery in South Africa, he is 49 and has a 6-month-old son. The prayers which poured out over that night on the “chat line” were in English, in Afrikaans, from England, Switzerland and family in the USA. I know there were prayers from our parish as well. As I pen this message, he survived the surgery and is in recovery.
There are thousands of US families displaced by Irma, Harvey and even more devastation in the Caribbean. We can at times such as this see the power of nature, the love of God and our mission to help each other all manifest in a single image.
The call is rather beautiful. For it is in this we can make the difference and close off the road that Nietzsche and others would have us take.
A road which only leads to ourselves and not God.
The Power of Nature
© 2017 Michael J. Cunningham
Michael Cunningham is Director of Teen and Adult Faith Formation for St. Eulalia Parish