Fr Daniel O'Leary
Fr Daniel O'Leary, Reflection, Contemplation

Divine imagination

It all begins with God. God’s imagination is the key to who we are. All human imagination is a reflection of the divine imagination. It is, as W.B. Yeats put it, ‘Our evidence of God.’ Divine imagination is wider and wilder than we could ever dream of; and it is closer and more loving than we could hope. God’s imagination is at work in every aspect of creation from the heart of the cosmos to the heart of the tiniest insect, and in the very core of our own being.         

We sense the divine creativity, in a most intimate way, in our own deepest desire –  the desire to create, to be radically original, to break through our limitations, to fulfil God’s dream in us, to become full of divine light. We reflect the imagination of God in our passion for the possible, in our everlasting hope even when all seems lost. Beyond a knowledge of God, and of conditioned religious behaviour, it is in our existential  longing for the experience of God that imagination is fully  at play.

God’s imagination in us calls us to be faithful to our own originality. It is invincible, uncontrollable and essentially free because it carries no fear. It is eminently trustable. It can live with paradox, difference and contradiction. It does not come with programs for procedure or instructions for completion. It is about possibility. “I dwell in possibility,’ wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning. So must we. In his inaugural speech in 1994, Nelson Mandela suggested that it was not our frailty, faults and failures that hold us back; it was, he said, our inner glory and shining beauty that terrifies us. God sets no limits. We do. And usually because we are afraid. . .

True understanding that lasts and transforms depends on the intensity of the actual experience of what is known. There is a daunting challenge here. It takes imagination to craft a new creation between the knowledge of the head and the intuition of the heart. Maybe it is time to encourage each other to trust more confidently in our own imagination already full of God’s creativity.

(Begin with the Heart pp26,27)

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