Posted by: geolocke | 2013/10/27

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

When an unclean spirit goes out of a person it roams through arid regions searching for rest but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it empty, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and brings back with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they move in and dwell there; and the last condition of that person is worse than the first. Thus it will be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45 (see also Luke 11:24-26)

This parable appears almost verbatim in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel. This is one of those parables that sticks in my mind as being troublesome. Not because it bothers me, but more because A: it does not seem to fit with the surrounding Gospel narrative and B: it does not seem to be complete, as if there is something being left unsaid. Nor do I recall hearing any stirring Homilies on this parable that have lead me to say “Ah-Ha! That’s what Jesus is getting at!” It’s almost as if this is one of those parables that places me in the camp of “those who listen, but do not hear”. But this week in a moment of clarity or insight or inspiration (I know not which) I realized that I had been over-analyzing it all these years. I believe (I think) that what Jesus is getting at can be summed up by an adage from Physics; “Nature abhors a vacuum”.

In the physical world, when an area of vacuum is created, i.e. a place where nothing exists, then matter rushes in to fill that vacuum. The same can be said of the Spiritual world. When I confess my sins and ask for forgiveness, my heart is swept clean and set in order. It is “emptied” of what was previously harming me. But what happens next? If I do not immediately ask for God’s Grace to fill my heart which has been “swept clean and put in order”, then what can I expect to happen but to be revisited by the same old evils which previously haunted me, and perhaps worse evils than those.

If I find that I am repeatedly asking forgiveness for the same evil time after time, did I ever really repent in the first place? I think my repentance is genuine, but that I have failed to follow through and to ask for God’s Grace to take up her place within my heart. To invite the Spirit of Love and Kindness and Forgiveness to dwell fully within my heart so that She leaves no room for evil thoughts to return and trouble me any more.

“A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51

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