Look For God


And you will assuredly find Him. Or rather, you will finally notice that He has been finding us. Recounting his concentration camp experience, Viktor Frankl writes:

from Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl

Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way--an honorable way--in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."

His parents named him Viktor, and indeed, he was. He survived the camps, and not only did he survive them, but he came out of them with a more intimate knowledge of God and of human nature.

For humanity, there is no higher goal, nor anything more sustaining that contemplating the image of the Beloved. Yes, there is much good in remembering the lesser goods, all of our beloved family and friends. But the highest form of contemplation, the form that breeds intimacy and speaks to salvation is contemplation of the Beloved. In this is salvation even in the worst of circumstances. One cannot even begin to imagine what life was like in the long haul of survival in the camps; however, in those same infinitely horrible, infinitely blasphemous camps, one man at least, survived and came to the rest of humanity with the message he received. He redeemed a science by acknowledging that our greatest good does not lie in ordering what is within, but in giving all to that in which we live and move and have our being. One moment of love of this Beloved is better than a thousand years of the bliss of love on Earth, as excellent as that is.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 8, 2006 9:01 AM.

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