Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, “
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place.
Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Every time I’ve seen children asked to draw God, inevitably there will be an image of a bearded man on a throne up in the clouds. It seems even when we are young and our imagination is most wild, we find it hard to believe God would dwell “down here.”
Yet, that is part of what Ignatian Spirituality challenges us to see. We strive to be bold enough to believe God is somehow here in the material world as well. Like Solomon, we are struck by the paradox that the God who can’t be contained by mountains would dwell in a tabernacle; a piece of bread.
When is the last time I noticed the God of heaven right here in the nitty gritty of life on this earth?
Consider how God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labors. Thus, in the heavens, the elements, the plants, the fruits, the cattle, etc., He gives being, conserves them, confers life and sensation, etc.
—St Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises #236