by Jamie Myrose
In a fashion typical of Boston, another rain storm gripped the city, resulting in a 36º day. While I love watching thunderstorms from inside my dorm room, I dread the idea of walking around with soaking wet shoes the rest of the day. Suddenly, I remembered—I had gotten rain boots for Christmas! For the first time in four years I could walk across the Boston College’s campus knowing I would stay dry. This realization arose in me immense gratitude for my parents, and I could feel a sense of joy welling up inside me. I could not keep a smile off my face as I stepped through puddles. I took a moment to look at the beauty of these humble rain drops returning to the Earth to bring life. I thought to myself, “What have I missed? Where else have I failed to see God?”
As a Jesuit university, Boston College takes great pride in its Ignatian spirituality, which is outlined in St. Ignatius of Loyola’s The Spiritual Exercises. These exercises begin with five foundations, the second of which is finding God in all things. This practice is a reference to the creation story in Genesis 1:1-2:3, in which after each act of creation, God looks at what He has made and calls it “good.” Thus, all of creation reflects the beauty of its Creator and is drawn towards perfection in God’s love. This reality calls us to change our perspectives and imbue our lives with gratitude.
Alternatively, this reality requires thoughtful discernment. Though all creation is good, we as imperfect beings cannot always recognize the goodness of creation and use it accordingly. For example, wine is good and has a use in the Mass, but wine is not good for an alcoholic. At times, one must practice indifference. The Jesuit understanding of indifference is not a kind of apathy, but rather a form of trust in the providence of God. Because our human aspirations are often not in accord with those of God, this form of indifference invites us to separate ourselves from our earthly desires and instead submit to the will of God, however God may choose to manifest it. Once one—through the grace of God—is freed from one’s previous biases and expectations, the next step is to evaluate choices through an exercise in consolation and desolation. By taking the time to evaluate which choices cause joy and which cause anxiety, we can more easily discern God’s will. Our indifference is the recognition that ultimately, we desire communion with God and that there is no one codified way to get there. Each one of us has a call to holiness, beginning with the desire to find God in all things.
Thus, I challenge you: in what ways have you failed to recognize God’s presence in all things? How can you practice gratitude in concrete ways this week? And most importantly: how does your life stand as a testament to this divine reality? Finding God in the rain drops is only the beginning to living a life dedicated to the greater glory of God.