It wasn’t till I started following the news more closely on the internet, and now on my cell phone, that I found my mind invaded by fears, confusion, uncertainty about my place in a world so filled with violence and pain, my mind progressively collapsing in on itself even as it hungered to see and read more and more.
Our minds were made to remember God and God’s action and benefits in our life. Does that mean we don’t care about or hide from the problems that riddle the lives of others in today’s world?
Today I turned to the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Zechariah and the annunciation to Mary to find my way. The angel could have talked about the Roman occupation, the poverty in the community, the political efforts to find a just life. Instead he called Zechariah and Mary to rejoice. He came to bring good news. He announced what God was about to accomplish in the world. The canticles of Zechariah and Mary, the Benedictus and the Magnificat respectively, are very similar in their responses: They bless the Lord, offer thanksgiving, proclaim the continuity of God’s faithfulness from ages past to the end of the ages, and, particularly in the song of Mary, announce what God is going to do as already accomplished.
Both Zechariah and Mary lived through and endured the tragedies of life. Both saw their child enter the public stage, manifesting the vindication and compassion of God in the face of obstinacy and rejection, both lost a child to persecution and martyrdom. But I would like to believe that the verses of their Canticles were the memories they carried through their life, the remembrance of God forever in their mind and imagination. Through all situations of clouds, confusion, and darkness, they proclaimed that God is faithful, God has a plan that includes them and their child, that they don’t understand the plan and can’t personally advance it other than through surrender and trust.
The news is in our pockets and on the screens at our desk and in our homes. It is omnipresent. Our minds were given us for the remembrance of God that we might become deified. God is omnipresent, not as a passing ticker of news, but as an eternal Rock upon whom we can put our trust. It’s actually very simply. Memories and imagination filled with the remembrance of God leave no room for the incessant army of passing thoughts that invade our soul with fears and trouble. The remembrance of God is not an escape from reality. The remembrance of God is the proclamation of Reality.