We all know we’re on a journey. Some of us might have an idea of where we are going, where we came from. Maybe some of us do not.
For my journey, what I know is that I started as a thought in the heart of God my Father. And my life is a journey of walking and finding my way back from whence I came…back to the heart of my Father.
But because my life has had its ups and downs, it’s not always easy for me to know where that straight path is, the path that leads back to His heart, the path that allows me to find deep union with Him in my own heart.
There are obstacles. We can all relate to this, can’t we? We came into the world as pure children, full of innocence. Through various life experiences, we learned the ways of the world. We learned pain, unforgiveness, putting walls up to protect ourselves, the judgment of others. We learned to look for our fulfillment in everything but God: money, prestige, pleasure, materialism, etc.
And it’s because of these tendencies that we may feel like we’ve lost our way at times. We might have a clear, or maybe hazy, idea that this life is a journey that has an end. And towards that end, we are doing our best to walk a path worthy of that end, spending eternity with God in Heaven.
So, we ask, if we’ve lost our way, how do we find it again?
Reflecting on this question reminded me of The Lord of the Rings. The “precious,” the “one ring to rule them all,” was fashioned in the fiery depths of Mordor, yet all of us Tolkien fans know that the ring became a disaster. It had power, and it became a corruptive influence on anyone who carried or got near it. The trilogy is then based on an arduous journey intended to destroy the ring in order to break the power of evil it wielded over others.
The journey’s finale took the ring and its bearers to the gates of Mordor, where the ring was flung into the fiery, melting depths that it came from. Only there, where it was wielded in the first place, can it and its power be completely destroyed.
I’d like to suggest that you and I need to be flung into a similar, fiery pit—only not one anything like the dark lairs of Mordor. I believe that if we let ourselves be consumed by the fires of God’s love, to be immersed in His heart, then our hearts and souls will slowly melt and become malleable. When we allow this, we give permission to God to iron out the kinks that have developed in our mind, body, and soul. God can burn off and destroy the things in us that are not of Him or hinder union with Him and all that He’s created for us.
And when we allow God to do this, He can then work on reshaping us into something closer to what His plan was for us, His son or daughter. He can recast us into the image and form He intended for us, so we can then be wielded for the good work He intended. When we’ve been ironed out, refreshed, renewed, and reshaped into something closer to the goodness of who we are, we will be able to find our path back to God, Our Father.
Our stories began in the fiery heart of God. Like the oozing, liquid heat we remember of Mordor, God’s heart stays aflame, and He births new sons and daughters out of His love. Despite being made fully by and in His love, we are still born imperfect, impeded by original sin.
The measure in which we die to ourselves and surrender ourselves to God makes a difference. If we surrender to the point of letting Him melt us through challenges, suffering, purification, humiliation, then we embrace the possibility of the new life God intends for us.
And until we make this bold move with our lives, we will embody the revelation of St. Augustine: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, Oh God.”
Our journey in life is a daily walk of offering ourselves more and more into the fiery throes of God’s heart. In that place, we’ll be challenged, stripped, and reformed so that we can finally find and come home to our resting place. The resting place of God’s heart, the place we were first formed and the place we will ultimately return to.