tangible vs intangible

“God, of your goodness, give me yourself;
you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would
not do you full honor.
And if I ask anything that is less,
I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything’.”

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

Friendship is one of the most tangible things in a world
which offers fewer and fewer supports.

Kenneth Branagh


(an Anglican rosary / Julie Cook / 2021)

One of the greatest conundrums for Christians…
and perhaps that for our Jewish brethren as well,
is that of the tangible vs the intangible.

Merriam-Webster tells us that tangible is defined as:
able to be touched or felt

The opposite of that, intangible, is defined as:
an asset (such as goodwill) that is not corporeal
:an abstract quality or attribute

So it seems as if our conundrum exists between that which can be touched,
felt, held, vs that which is abstract and perhaps more intellectual…
as in something that is not to be touched or held.
Something far and beyond…
as in Omnipotent and of a different realm from our own.

I think we’d all agree that an Omnipotent God tends to exist in the realm
of the intangible.
As in above as well as beyond that of mere mortals.

And as a said mere mortal, that being one who likes to touch, feel
and know that what I cherish is indeed “real”…
the notion of the abstract and intellectual is not easy.
In fact it can downright frustrating.

Personally, I am one who wants, nay needs, to be able to touch, hold and feel.
And in turn I need to be touched, held and felt by others.
That’s how I know something is indeed real and in turn others
know that I am equally real.
That one on one physical connection is so utterly necessary.
It is soothing, comforting and for the lack of a better word, sound.

Yet our faith defiantly implores us to trust.
Trust in the unseen.
Trust in that which is not to be touched, felt or held.
Trust in that which does not readily physically embrace us.
Trust in that which is beyond our grasp and beyond our worldly vision.

Somedays that is not a problem.
Our intellect can make sense of such and we have a bit of transcendence.
Our thoughts can delve beyond both space and time.

Other days, it seems to be a mere impossibility.
A day goes bad.
We feel under the weather.
We feel alone.
We are hurting.

And it is in those moments we need the tangible.
We need to touch and be touched.
To hold and be held.

It is the only link in knowing that we exist and that we matter.

That is why there is many a night I fall asleep holding my
Anglican rosary in my hands.

I have both Catholic and Anglican rosaries–however being raised
in the Anglican communion, I am more comfortable using that type of prayer rope.

Holding such “a prayer rope”, helps me to feel as if I have something that I
can hold in my hand that allows me to feel as if I am holding God’s hand.

The other night had been tough…and so as I readied for bed,
I reached for my rosary.

I knew I was desperately in need of “the tangible”

I eventually turned off the table lamp and laid on my back while
staring upward through the inky black night.
I held on tightly to the rosary.
Reciting an ancient set of prayers for each bead. The beads moved one by one, passing through my tired hand.
This tiny ritual of mine was more of a matter of my imploring, or more like begging, God to please come quickly be by my side.

I imagined that as I prayed holding those beads, I was actually holding the Father’s hand.
Just as a young child, I had reached out my hand to take His hand in mine.

Oddly, when I had finally drifted off to sleep, turning over, I actually loosened
my hold of the rosary.

It was during that brief fitful interim of sleep that I had had an awful dream.
A troubling dream.
One that had me waking short of breath and with actual tears in my eyes.
I felt a sense of rising panic.

My bad dreams have always been terribly vivid.

Immediately I found myself feeling in the covers  for my rosary.

Finding it, I clutched it to my chest. Still feeling shaken, I knew I was holding it so tightly that the beads might just pop off.  But I also knew that in my despair,  I had actually reached out my hand for God’s hand just as He in turn offered
me His hand.
We stayed that way, holding hands, for the remainder of the night.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

fallen world

“If I looked into a mirror, and did not see my face,
I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me,
when I look into this living busy world,
and see no reflexion of its Creator.”

John Henry Newman


(a ragged and worn Spicebush swallowtail butterfly / Julie Cook / 2017)

“The primary effects of original sin,
which are the deprivation of grace and the loss of eternal life,
are taken away by baptism or baptism of desire, but the other effects
are not.
These are the darkening of the intelligence,
the weakening of the will,
the casting of the emotions, into chaos,
and the corruption of human relationships”

Fr Benedict from the 2004 interview with John Bishop

In August, the waning days of summer are relentlessly hot and equally humid.
Here in the deep south there is no glimpse of that hopefulness known as Fall,
a change of season that just so happens to be on the very next page of
the calendar.

The butterflies, who may or may not be aware that changes are in store,
are at a near fevered pitch as they make their precarious mad dash
all around the yard in search of the those few brave flowers which
are still blooming despite most others having long dried and withered away.

The butterflies go about their task of nectar drinking right up to the moment
they simply fall to the ground and perish.
Their wings are now terribly frayed as the delicate colored powder
has all but worn away leaving their wings almost transparent…
yet the quest remains relentless.
They are driven by an innate need.

They are haggard and ragged and many are actually quite near death,
yet they continue on…
Much like the global Christian family during these waning days of
earth’s final glory.

Bruised and battered the ardent followers of Christ Jesus continue on,
ever forward, towards a final day…
sharing, preaching, seeking, offering…embracing the last word of Hope….

The times grow ever increasingly difficult to live and function in a fallen world
as the Faithful find themselves under constant attack.

Is it coincidental that in these dark days there should be a rise in the
attacks against professing Christians?

In the US the attacks are not the physical attacks seen taking place
elsewhere in the world, rather they are more legalistic and intellectual with a
heavy dose of shaming, smearing and shunning.

Yet oddly this global family, who profess to be Believers,
remains eerily silent.
Reminiscent of a day when those who shouted…
“you are one of them, you were with Him…”
With the panicked response being…
“you’re wrong, I don’t know what you’re talking
about, I don’t know them or Him…”

“Could you not remain, not stay awake, not even this one time when
I asked you, when I needed you…?”

The world is careening out of control…
While this season of change continues to descend.

A once great nation now loses her mind over a nearly once forgotten past,
refusing to turn around to recognize what the precarious future might be,
rather preferring to languish in what was.
As the world sits silently confused…waiting and watching…

Does the enemy care that a people now argue over changing the names of streets
while destroying the remnants of their their past?
No.
The enemy is glad and relishes in the stupid distractions.

Tearing one another apart, hating one another, cursing and defiling one’s
fellow man…
all the while the Enemy is cheering it on.

For our’s is a fallen world, now spinning wildly out of control.
Her leaders and politicians vainly try to bring order to the chaos.
Her people race to undo their years of forward motion…
While no one seems to comprehend that there is but only One who
can and who will bring an end to the madness— as He is the only one who
can usher in the much needed order…

Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen,
the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,

Zephaniah 1:14-15