Finding God on the Metro

By William Blazek I love riding Washington’s subway system, known locally as the Metro. I love the speed, the crush … Continued

By William Blazek

I love riding Washington’s subway system, known locally as the Metro.

I love the speed, the crush of people and the crazy noise of it all. I love the idea of being in motion towards. Most of all I love the Metro because I see God there almost every time I ride. I look for signs of the Almighty’s presence, and because it pleases the Creator that His created subjects should know Him, I see Him. Not too long ago, on a commute to a clinic for the homeless, I hopped on the campus shuttle bus and met God at the Rosslyn Station escalator. We rode it deep into the earth, and on the first train downtown, I had a powerful experience of His love.

I am a member of the Society of Jesus, a Jesuit. Meeting God in the everyday is one of our great pursuits. It is part of the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and is open to all: Jesuit and non-Jesuit, Christian and non-Christian alike. When our eyes are open, all of us can see God everywhere, in people, places and things, in ideas, actions and chance meetings.

Examining the day for traces of God’s presence is a Jesuit’s twice-daily duty, but the discipline can enter into anyone’s routine. With practice, it becomes more a respite from hectic everyday life than a burden, a way of being more than a particular effort or task. These exercises ask, “Where is God?” in any particular experience. Ignatius would suggest we request a hefty dose of God’s aid each time we undertake such a self-review.

How did I find God that sunny Friday morning? How did God find me? As on any commute, I asked God to help me while I waited for the shuttle in front of the student dining hall in Georgetown University’s Southwest Quad. Beginning a Rosary, I muttered the Apostle’s Creed as we bounced eastward on Prospect, and signs of God started popping out all around me. The broad rose-lit arches of the Key Bridge shimmered in the early dawn. A coed clad in curiously pajama-like attire dragged a roll-on suitcase aboard, presumably en route to the airport. I was forced to squint as, across the river, a Krypton-red sun painted a fireball in the mirrored windows of a Rosslyn skyscraper. Looking down the hill to the old towpath along the B and O Canal, I knew that running shoes were crunching in the gravel as faithful joggers’ took their morning exercise. Below on the Potomac, two four-seat sculls emerged from the mist: the rowers’ backs steamed as they pulled in rhythm at their oars. The quiet beauty of all these things assured me of God’s certain presence.

By the time I clambered to the curb at Rosslyn Station, the presence of God was nearly palpable. Some people see God while looking at mountains, or in a baby’s smile. I seem to find Him especially on escalators. At Rosslyn the platforms are 97 feet below the surface: it makes for a two-minute ride descending what is reportedly the third longest continuous escalator in the world. If I stand on the staircase rather than running to the bottom, this piece of a half-hour commute becomes a privileged two minutes I can use to look for God.

That Friday I rode with high-heeled business commuters who clattered by in barely controlled descents while laborers in hard hats joked in Spanish about their boss’ drinking. Desert-camouflaged soldiers and Air Force officers in flight suits joined us in our journey. Most of my anonymous companions were quiet. Some conversed in twos and threes. I narrowly avoided colliding with an office worker who clutched a leaky cup of coffee. I reminded myself of my vow of chastity as I found my own eyes lingering upon a pair of young women who ascended opposite, their curious glances fixed some while upon my Roman dress. I admired a spike-haired artist bobbling an oversize portfolio and a mother in a purple sari carrying a baby sleeping in a sling. The wonder of God’s creation shone out of all these people like the like the white on white brightness of a near-death experience.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had these suggestions for making Steps for a “Twice Daily Spiritual Examination.”

Step 1) Quiet yourself and recall that you are in the presence of God.

Step 2) Ask God to assist you in making the examination.

Step 3) Recall the people, places and things that have entered you day since your last examination. Ask where God might have been present in the sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations of your day.

Step 4) Consider where you may have turned away from God’s desires for you in your choices or actions.

Step 5) Form a resolve based on numbers three and four above to change some behavior or attitude in yourself. Ask God to help you with this resolve. Conclude with a familiar prayer that you like.

Acutely on that morning, I felt God brush my face in a steady rush of wind that wafted up the escalator tunnel. A watery scent hinted at dark and secret courses beneath the river, I imagined subterranean chambers frequented by orange-vested Metro crews, beyond the pedestrian reach of ordinary commuters like me. I stood upon the platform, waiting for a train, while the pillars of the earth walked and ran, jostled and careened all about me.

Now ordinarily, any of the above would be sufficient fuel for an examination in the Ignatian tradition. I could review the input received from my senses to find that He was in the sight of nods given by the security guards when I made the effort to establish eye contact with them. He was in the sounds of the incomprehensible announcements that rang overhead, enumerating the elevator outages for the day. Abstractly but proximately, he was in the care taken by the engineers who designed the arched vault of the tunnel’s ceiling. Even more remotely, but nonetheless real, he was in the sweat of the miners who had labored to dig the ore that made up the steel escalator steps that whisked me down into the earth. In any ordinary examination, I would thank God for these many gifts and perhaps ask to recognize them more often, or to be more grateful. If I had found myself being rude to the bus driver, or pointedly ignoring the homeless man begging beneath a stairwell, I might ask for the grace of patience or generosity or charity. Then I would ask Him to help me in achieving this change of behavior or attitude while praying the Lord’s Prayer, or some other formal closing.

However, that particular Metro ride was something different. Once aboard a car, it was not yet 8:30 and my day was made, my joy more near complete. I wondered where the people were going, of what they were in charge or who might be in charge of them. I wondered what they struggled with at work, what prayers ran through their heads. I saw God in all my musings. The windows of the car reflected the souls of two heavy-set African-American women. With Government Printing Office ID cards dangling from their necks and colorful Smithsonian tote bags at their feet, the pair rested their eyes on the way to work. The backdrop of the tunnel walls ebbed and flowed behind them, alternately racing and slowing, lights flashing and glaring like freeway street lamps, while the car lurched towards Foggy Bottom making roller coaster rattles and eerie screeches all the way long.

That ordinary morning, on a plunging high-speed run through Foggy Bottom, three stops north of the Pentagon, but before the Red Line transfer at Metro Center, the engines wound up like turbines on a tarmac and for a moment the car seemed to rocket towards someplace beyond the limits of space. Then, in a special way, at some ear-popping depth beneath the Potomac River, God washed right over me.

Hidden below the pilings and culverts, the mains and conduits whose tangles sustain the Capitol above, I rested in his love. He poured through me like an endorphin rush that crescendoed as the train sped along carrying its cargo of God’s people to their unique and personal destinies that day. Arriving near my clinic, I took another escalator to the surface, and went about my work.

Trappist monk and celebrated author Thomas Merton once described a vision he had in everyday life that happened as he walked down a city street. “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.” Merton later reflected, “There is no way to telling people people they are all walking around shining like the sun.” I used to reflect a great deal upon those words, and wondered if I could ever love like that, or whether I could see God’s people in that way.

When I first read Merton’s lines, I thought perhaps his experience had been a singular event; similar to the spiritual epiphany experienced in the 1500’s by Saint Ignatius on the river Cardoner in Spain, where “the eyes of his understanding were opened…” I used to look for powerful experiences of God in discreet particular moments, but recently it seems to me that mystical contact with Him comes more frequently in repeated series of commonplace activities, such as a commute.

Recognizing the Lord in any place or time is sometimes as simple as asking, “Where is God in this?” The question asked and God’s aid invoked, He presents Himself in pajama clad travelers, public transit platforms, and views of rose-tinted bridges. Sometimes he touches us strongly, as in those ecstatic moments approaching the Foggy Bottom platform, but He is generally more subtle. It is increasingly apparent to me that he can be seen everywhere and in everything. For those interested in finding Him, one place to look is in the breeze blowing up the Rosslyn Station tunnel.

Dr. William Blazek, a Jesuit Scholastic, joined Georgetown University’s Center for Clinical Bioethics as a Research Scholar and its Department of Medicine as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2006. He teaches ethics, physical diagnosis, and patient interviewing in the School of Medicine’s Preclinical Curriculum.

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  • Norrie Hoyt

    I love driving Interstate 89 North from White River Junction to Montpelier in the morning. I love the speed, the superb scenery, the glint of sunlight on the Green Mountains seen from Randolph, the absence of people and the silence.Most particularly, as I pass from Sharon [birthplace of Joseph Smith] onto the long curve from Royalton to Bethel, with its high-up view of Vermont Law School far below, at about mile-post 21, I look expectantly at the breakdown lane, where the seven-foot white, green and pink polka dot Bunny always stands, hitching a ride.Pleasant and happy looking as He is, I never stop for Him, because my Old Believer relatives taught me to be be wary of the Little People and their animal cousins.Continuing onwards toward our capital, Montpelier, I then reflect at length on the majesty of the creation and how the Bunny reveals himself through it, even though he is manifest only on the breakdown lane at Royalton.Only once has the Bunny spoken in my thoughts to me. He told me that Father Blazec was on an ultimately futile quest to find God at the Rosslyn Station on the Washington Metro line.Instead, the Bunny revealed that Father Blazek should be exploring Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, where, if he is diligent, he will find not only the graves of Mary Magdalene and her daughter, Sara, but the Templars’ treasure as well.Godspeed, Father Blazec.

  • Arminius

    Father Blazek,You beautiful words move me. After 30 years of searching and doubting, I came back to the church (Episcopal, in my case) after experiencing some things that showed me that God IS with me, that He is there for me and for everyone. I will remember and perform the Spiritual Examination. I did it just now, and was in tears. Still am.Thank you, and God bless.

  • frank buckley, s.j.

    wow, i loved bill’s article on finding God in a myriad of places. the daily examen he describes is one of the greatest gifts of st. ignatius to the Church. as i prepare to go with my father to the doctors for a spot on his lung it is good to know that God shows up more often than not in the most unlikely of places, particularly when you need Him most!!! Thanks Bill for a wonderful reflection–very helpful.

  • shoebeacon

    very, nice, I enjoy noticing reality as well, but how is any of this actual evidence for the existence of supernatural intelligence that “created” the universe?

  • Martin Hughes

    Virgil’s ‘deum namque ire per omnes/terrasque, tractusque maris caelumque profundum’ somewhat anticipates Christian panpsychism.

  • Martin Hughes

    Virgil’s ‘deum namque ire per omnes/terrasque, tractusque maris caelumque profundum’ somewhat anticipates Christian panpsychism.

  • Martin Hughes

    Virgil’s ‘deum namque ire per omnes/terrasque, tractusque maris caelumque profundum’ somewhat anticipates Christian panpsychism.

  • SE

    Thank you.

  • SE

    Thank you.

  • Campbellite

    Father, I would be a Catholic if the Church taught MORE like this and LESS about simple moralism.

  • Matt

    It sounds like he is basically talking about mindfulness. What he calls “seeing god” I think I refer to in my own experience as “being in the moment”.

  • yulie

    Have you lost your mind? Please explain to me how the “broad rose-lit arches of the Key Bridge shimmered in the early dawn” proves the existence of the god you allege exists. By your logic, I could use the bridge you reference to prove the existence of the tooth fairy or Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or anything else I wish to see/notice in my daily life.If your god exists, doesn’t he/she/it have better ways to making itself know than a friggin’ bridge in Arlington? Do me a favor please . . . the next time you are down in the metro system and you see your invisible friend/god . . please tell your god to make sure he/she/it keeps the trains running on time. Is that too much to ask of your god.

  • yulie

    Have you lost your mind? Please explain to me how the “broad rose-lit arches of the Key Bridge shimmered in the early dawn” proves the existence of the god you allege exists. By your logic, I could use the bridge you reference to prove the existence of the tooth fairy or Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or anything else I wish to see/notice in my daily life.If your god exists, doesn’t he/she/it have better ways to making itself know than a friggin’ bridge in Arlington? Do me a favor please . . . the next time you are down in the metro system and you see your invisible friend/god . . please tell your god to make sure he/she/it keeps the trains running on time. Is that too much to ask of your god.

  • OD

    How nice for you, and how totally illogical.Every time you see something nice, that’s a sign from God that he’s there? Wow, you set the bar of proof high.I’d be curious to know if guys like you also ever meet or pass Satan on your morning commutes.I bet you think you do, but you’d never dare publish it because it’s too reminiscent of old-fashioned religion, with its witch-burning, inquisitions and fearful superstition. Hell, Satan, the lake of fire, all that stuff is rarely mentioned these days. Even by Jesuits.Once, peasants could be chivvied along with threats of eternal torture. For that matter, people were often encouraged in the faith by threats of torture in this world as well as the next. But nowadays all of those effective tools are off-limits, and fluffy pieces about the cuddly God of the Metro is about all that’s left. Does your God also ride the buses of Baghdad?And why did your God let all those children get molested by Catholic priests?

  • Brandon

    That was very nice, Father. I truly mean that. However, where was God when it was triple digit heat last week and the metro car I was on was packed with folks after a long day and the A/C was not working? I wouldn’t say god was present then. I believe it was more the work of the dark lord of The Metro. Be-AC-Bub.

  • Garak

    If god is on the Metro, how does he/she/it handle delays, smart-aleck disrespecting Metro workers, etc? Maybe we should should pray for some of those Metro workers to turn into pillars of salt.

  • Sterling Weaver

    Along with so many other similar stories, I comptemplated the validity of your comment: “When I first read Merton’s lines, I thought perhaps his experience had been a singular event; similar to the spiritual epiphany experienced in the 1500’s by Saint Ignatius on the river Cardoner in Spain, where “the eyes of his understanding were opened…” [along with many, many other incredulous witness]I wonder if your daily epiphanies are illusionary, delusional or the product of invincible self-deception. At least you were honest enough to admit your visions and conversations with God are “mystical”. You might add mythical and magical. Your are dishonest when you claim to KNOW what is unknowable. A contention that cannot be proved or disproved. I’ll accept belief. I object to your assertion that belief, no matter how twisted or obscene, can be sold as fact.Keep your religious beliefs within the family, the church and the individual. Stay out of the public square. As an illustration, our military has been corrupted with your religiosity.The Bush administration has infused religion into and ‘politicized’ the military. He has changed it from an apolitical institution of government to an ecclesiastical institution controlled by the hegemonic Republican War Party. He has accomplished the same transformation of the Department of Justice and corrupted the federal judiciary with “Federalist” judges who advocate a unitary presidency with inherent power (above the rule of law) in the model advocated by Alexander Hamilton. A pluralistic democracy will not, cannot survive the assault. As individuals, we have surrendered our freedom and liberty to be told what we can and cannot due by the state.

  • miffed

    Long live the Flying Spaghetti Monster.May you be touched by his noodly appendage.

  • OD

    “Air Force officers in flight suits joined us in our journey…”You should have taken them to task for giving your religion a bad name. Because it’s the Christian nutjobs’ love of war, militarism and arms trading that makes me despise Christianity. If it weren’t for all that war, I could probably overlook Christians’ sanctimony, hypocrisy, preachiness, nosiness, intolerance and serial pedophilia.

  • Athena

    This just proves that there is beauty and magic everywhere, if we just choose to look for it. Even in the Metro tunnels. Try taking the Green Line train out to Greenbelt sometime! You get a wonderful view of Lake Artemesia. Of course, this is the DC Metro we’re talking about. I don’t know how much magic and/or beauty there is in the New York subway system.

  • Ron Gosewisch

    Dr Blazek,QuoteIf the string theory is correct, Padre, electrons and all sub-atomic particles are made up of strings or rings of light. And Who said, “I am the Light.”? In other words, given this and the contingency theory, we don’t have to go far to be with the Creator, He’s right in and around us. Ron Gosewisch

  • Ron Yost

    I consistently see God in the beauty of the ocean and the magnificence of the weather. Recently for instance, in the 2004 Tsunami which killed 230,000 innocent people, and Hurricane Katrina which killed over 1,800 innocent people and destroyed many towns along the Gulf Coast. I don’t understand why he would kill so many people, but I do know that it is somehow part of His all-knowing, all-loving plan.

  • Brandon

    Dude, whats up with you guys? This guy is a Jesuit, not a Southern Baptist of the firebrand GOP sort. Stop harping about Bush incongruously every single chance you get. You sound a bit insane.That said, I believe there is one God, but probably a cargo carrier of devils when it comes to the Metro. There is the devil of the turnstyle that won’t accept your metrocard and you walk right in to it. The devil that bewilders tourists the second they get down those escalators, turning what I imagine were reasonably functional people on the surface in to drooling mongoloid idiot freaks. Afformention Be-AC-Bub also…hmm

  • Naughty altar boy

    You should try the same trip on mushrooms, Father. It’s wicked. Your retina literally picks up new colors you’ve never seen before.Don’t go when it’s crowded, though, or you might freak out.

  • Tim

    C’mon now — it’s a step up from seeing the Virgin Mary in a bagel, at any rate.

  • Mike

    You’re a kook!

  • SC

    Father Blazek, it seems that your attributions to god are completely post hoc rationalizations of your own feelings and impulses. As one of the commenters noted the source of these feelings could logically be anything. It could be god, Zeus, Loki, Eru, or even a polka dot bunny. Using these post hoc attributions thoroughly cheapens human experience. The complexity involved in the emotions one experiences while traveling through a bustling metropolis, witnessing the complexity and diversity of humanity, and marveling at the mixture of nature and technology is completely corrupted when invoking a supernatural being. In reality, invoking the supernatural deprives human experience of its meaning.

  • David

    Please indicate evidence of god

  • C. J.

    I read the fanciful “God in the subway” column and the first thing that comes to my mind is, “How thick is the foam rubber on his walls and ceiling?” Whenever I take a little peek at the “Faith” section I am hoping to catch a little glimpse of life wisdom, but instead just more silliness (and slightly offensive).Try this, Mr. Blazek: Go for just one day looking at the world and the stars and the universe just as they are. Don’t ascribe anything to them. You’ll find a whole different set of beautiful things along with a mass of ugly and evil things too. It’s all there. Fortunately, the beauty can be found light years away from Earth as well as in and on it, but the evil only exists on a very thin film on the surface of our planet, full of holes and stains. When you find beauty existing for any number of random reasons and not a creation of some prehistorically created omnipotent being, it magnifies it even more and makes it all that much more rare and fascinating.I’ll agree with Miffed: “Long live the Flying Spaghetti Monster. May you be touched by his noodly appendage.”

  • John

    Get this guy a cuckoo clock, because he’s certifiably cuckoo.

  • CB

    A quote from a Joan Osborne song:

  • CB

    A quote from a Joan Osborne song:

  • ES

    If more people took the time to enjoy the beauty in simple, everyday moments (whether or not they believe in God, or that God is reflected in the simplest scenes), we’d all be a lot better off. Some of the other comments here are incredibly angry, and for what? Because a priest chose to write about how he experiences God in his life? C’mon people, lighten up and smile a little…

  • Morphilius

    Well! I introduce Mystery Man.Mystery Man

  • z-bob

    When we look deeply into our perceptive experiences, we become aware of the miraculous nature of ‘being”. The creative force of the universe is an ever-changing, constantly flowing “event” played out both in the relative explicate order of space-time and in the absolute implicate transcendent orders of reality. Through personal reflection on the mutually dependent, interconnectedness of all of the manifested world, one is awakened to the true nature of our conscious experiences. If we disallow the egocentric nature of our conscious and subconscious thoughts from dominating each of our momentary experiences, then we allow the pure consciousness within each of us to “correctly” perceive the universe within and without us. In my opinion, this “correct” view of the material world creates a moment or moments when “god”, through us, is perceiving the ongoing creation of the physical universe, (which is the manifestation of “god”). Many contributors are questioning the existence of “god” and how Mr. Blazek “sees” “god” in so many ways. The word “god” is a verbal concept that can be defined in differing ways by different individuals. To repeat part of a prior contribution:Could “god” be the collective consciousness of all space and time that exists in the transcendent order (see Einstein’s absolute space-time, David Bohm’s implicate order, Stephen Hawking’s time has no boundary proposal, etc.) which is actually “created” in the explicate order by conscious beings’ experiences. In other words do our impermanent conscious experiences in the historical dimension create the “god” of the transcendent ultimate dimension. While “god” may be irrelevant in Buddhist thought and practice, (especially as an interceding being) doesn’t the collective consciousness of the ultimate dimension (Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s terminology) lead to a similar transcendent, universal, absolute “being”?Also, as I have previously blogged:Therefore, when we fully realize the true nature of our pure consciousness within, a veil is lifted from what was formerly mundane to reveal the absolute beauty and miracle of all that exists. How can we not unconditionally love all of creation?Peace,PS: For an excellent read by the insightful Thomas Merton, I suggest “Zen and the Birds of Appetite”

  • Wild Bill

    It’s truly amazing that in the US, Christians can get away with babbling about hogwash and their own hallucinations and be treated as “fine citizens” while the mentally ill that don’t babble religious gobbly-gook get labeled as insane or psychopathic even though their rantings are often just as grounded in reality as Christian’s claims.Religion is nothing more than culturally-sanctioned mental illness….

  • REVWEBBER

    I woke up this morning and opened my paper to news of the horrors in Darfur, and I saw God’s presence. My dog had once again tracked mud through the house, so I kicked him, in the “crack” of his ribs i heard God calling to me. I took a walk on the beach and stabbed myself in the heel of my foot with a dirty needle, which made me think about my chances of getting AIDS, which made me think about God divine plan for the great unwashed of this world. Meanwhile, my 14 year old daughter had an abortion yesterday, and i realised the face of Gon in the technology. Global warming?…God. Homeless people asking me for money on the freeway off-ramp?…I see God. Iraqi sectarian violence?…Allah hu Akbar people.My problem with this line of reasoning, Father, is how people only “see” God in the beautiful things and not in the horrors. If God is (and that is a seperate debate) than God is all of this, not just the things that take you to your happy place.

  • Arminius

    Nowhere did Father Blazek claim that he had a hammerlock on some absolute truth. He was describing what he saw, what he believed, graciously and beautifully, without ramming it down anyone’s throat. And all you jihadhist skeptics – what did you do? Go ballistic. No acceptance that he has the right to believe, no tolerance, no respect of the 1st amendment. Oh, no. Stomp, burn, throw stones, burn at the stake. Apparently there really is an atheist Talilban.

  • MJ

    The wonderful thing about this country, is that a paper can publish whatever it wants, and you have the freedom to choose to read it or not. Those of you who chose to read the column, even after knowing the title and the source, obviously want to know more about God. Else, why did you read it? You spend so much energy arguing against faith in God, yet you must believe in Him, if you continue to blame Him or ask Him “Why…?”. How can God singlehandedly take away the evil that exists in people without taking away our God-given ability to choose it? You get to choose good or not–you’ve been granted that ability by Him. If you choose not to do so, that’s your choice–just don’t condemn those who seek to look for and choose good, and hope to encourage others to do so as “delusional” or “mad”, just because you can’t possibly conceive of such a world of beauty, love and good.I hope that I see you on the street and see God in you, even as you deny Him. I hope I’ll let you merge in, that I’ll pick up the phone you drop: I pray that I will give you the dollar you’re short at the cash only metro card machine, and be the smile that takes away your bad mood, if only for a minute or two. For every time a kindness is given unreciprocated, it comes out of love, which comes only from God. God Bless you, I pray that God finds you, even as you run from Him.

  • WILLEM

    OH JESUS MARIA WHAT HAS THIS DUDE BEEN SMOKING??

  • z-bob

    To Revwebber:See my above contribution regarding how “god” is created and how “god” may exist depending on your definition of “god”, but also consider these partial lyrics of a Rosanne Cash song:God is in the rosesThe sun is on the cemetary

  • ALM

    I was going to post to simply say thanks for a beautiful essay and may God Bless you with the vision of the Presence more and more. Seeing all the negative posting I must add the saying from the Hindu tradition about those that do not understand:Let the dogs bark, as the elephant ambles blissfully along.

  • Sterling Weaver

    Z-bob and Morphilius: You have spent many hours writing an essay to justify a belief the credibility of which you suspect. As a child you were conditioned to believe in the the dictum “God moves in mystery ways”. You have not taken the time or the effort to question the truthfullness of the proposition presented to you by your religious handlers. “Be obedient. Do as I say. Follow me. Be a loyal member of the flock. Individualism is not tolerated. Don’t question.” And, your reward will be a wonderful, tranquil afterlife for an eternity. Disobey and you are doomed to pain and suffering for an eternity. It is a great sales pictch, eh?

  • Arminius

    As long as we are doing poetry, here is one from the folk song movement of the early ’60s:And Jesus was a sailor

  • Leandro

    This is insane.

  • kris

    Fr. Blazek,

  • Joseph K.

    “GOD IS A CRY IN THE STREET” – James Joyce”LET COD BE COD – LET GOD BE GOD” – Erastus the Fisherman

  • Sterling Weaver

    josevz et al: I’m sorry. I just don’t understand your message.I do understand the religous crowd wants us to fashion our secular laws according to the outlines in Deuteronomy and Leviticus; and, shape our forigin policy to bring about the prophesies in The Book of Revalations.

  • z-bob

    To: Sterling WeaverRepeating some earlier contributions: As someone who is attempting to integrate the essences of the various spiritual traditions and experiences with the radical new theories emerging through theoretical physics and consciousness psychology, in my opinion, the central question to the inquiry into an “afterlife” is the determination of the nature of eternity. It appears that most people who are discussing this topic are presuming a “Newtonian” view of absolute time and excluding from the discussion the theory of absolute space-time as espoused by Einstein and Minkowski. While I will not attempt to explain the intricacies of the theories of relativity, suffice it to say that Einstein thought that the distinction between past, present and future is an illusion. Every moment of spacetime is a timeless entity in and of itself. Following dogmatic religious institutional “faith” is not my manner of inquiry.

  • Pam

    Words fail me. To me, this is just plain nuts.

  • Sterling Weaver

    Z-bob: The ‘string theory’ is beyond me. I also have trouble intellectually with the concepts of ‘eternity’ and no absolute zero.Traditional faith may not be your inquiry. How about discipline?

  • Arminius

    To Sterling Weaver:First, give up on josevz. No one here has understood him yet.Second, not all the religious crowd wants to stuff the weird parts of the Old Testament down your throat. I am very much a practicing Christian, but if the ultra-right crowd came at us to impose their theocracy – believe me, I would be right beside you at the barricades to fight them.Beware of the Black Horse Tautology.

  • almaden

    It must have been a Jesuitical moment, much like the good Father’s epiphany on the Metro, when George W. Bush, in communion with his Higher Father, decided to unleash “shock and awe” on Iraq, invade and occupy this faraway land, and cause more than one-half-million souls to join their Maker or be doomed to a life of pain, poverty and lameness. Yes, God works in mysterious ways his Will and Marvels to be done. Let us pray for our Decider that he may truly be an instrument of that Will.

  • Anonymous

    I tried.

  • Sam

    Bless your heart to be so aware of the wonder and enjoyment of creation. You describe God as he, yet every human creature you encounter was formed within, born of, nurtured and raised by a woman, and she has the exact same number of ribs as does a man. God is not a he.

  • William L. Graham

    Circular, fallacious, and logically silly, fine words and dainty wrought phrases devoid of meaning — in short, you have dished up yet another serving of sophistry that does no one any good any many great harm.Bill Graham

  • Detoqueville

    What utter drivel. Of course, God is also visible in flesh-eating bacteria, in lung cancer, in Darfur, in tsunamis, in the endless bloodshed often wrought by the deeply religious. Superstition blinds us to the true beauty and majesty of nature and to true knowledge of how they exist.

  • LiberalTarian

    Praise the Lord and pass the hot sauce.God IS everywhere, and speaks to every heart every second of every day.We, sadly, do not hear. We have miraculous powers–our hands, our intellect, our hearts, yet miracles go undone.Close up your Bibles, words of men thousands of years dead, and find God in your food, your drink, your air, your trees, your natural environment. Save the world, save yourselves.

  • z-bob

    To: Sterling WeaverBy integrating various psychological and meditative techniques from modern and ancient sources and interpreting my experiences at differing levels of consciousness with the newest theories from theoretical physics, quantum mechanics and brain physiology, I, hopefully, gain insight into the nature of “being”.

  • Bernie Schaeffer

    What a challenging spiritual exercise. It becomes even more so when we try to see God in this country’s enemies–George Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and others.That takes a special effort!

  • Campbellite

    Jozevz, I think you’re the reincarnation of Dr. Bronner. ALL ONE! DILUTE! DILUTE! OK!The saddest thing about Western spirituality is that it devolved into moralism (rules to live by). From an anthrological perspective, religion fills both rolls, but in our case at this time, the courser has overwhelmed the finer. So to everyone who sees religion as an institution of evil, killing innocents in the name of God, they’re unfortunately right. But there is also the side that is the human spirit reaching to understand and connect with the Something that is bigger than them. You can find both sides in Christianity, but you have to look for the mystical side harder than the moralist side.

  • Bernie Schaeffer

    What a challenging spiritual exercise. It becomes even more so when we try to see God in this country’s enemies–George Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and others.That takes a special effort!

  • Sterling Weaver

    Almadan: Perhaps you should be more careful in what you wish for. Considering the Decider preemptively ushered into the world death, destruction, suffering, pain, wanton waste of human beings and economic resources for no definable benefit to anyone indicates your prayer has been answered.

  • LiberalTarian

    Wow. I hadn’t read most of the comments here before I posted. So many people with so little faith …WE are the miracles. Starvation is a problem of distribution, not supply. Poverty is a problem of greed, not abundance. Suffering is an affliction of perspective, not reality.You sat with a car that was broken in hundred degree heat. Why weren’t you grateful that usually your car is not broken? And, if God saved you, where would be the opportunity for your fellow man to put himself out on your behalf?I have a heretical formulation of God, according to religious tenets. But, according to God, I have been divinely blessed. I KNOW God, and I know that I will suffer, and weaken, and know pain, and die. But, I will have lived. I will have seen years of living, and shared the feelings of my loved ones and my not-loved ones. I will have had an existance.This is why I thank God. I am just a cog in this universe, from the very small to the enormous, I am here. I have thought. I have free will. This is God’s gift to me. And, because I have the power to appreciate the enormity of the gift, I am truly blessed. My prayer for you is that you feel God as I do, and you put those hands to work as God would wish you to–feed the hungry, console the sick, visit the imprisoned.Praise God, and Praise His Works.

  • LiberalTarian

    Wow. I hadn’t read most of the comments here before I posted. So many people with so little faith …WE are the miracles. Starvation is a problem of distribution, not supply. Poverty is a problem of greed, not abundance. Suffering is an affliction of perspective, not reality.You sat with a car that was broken in hundred degree heat. Why weren’t you grateful that usually your car is not broken? And, if God saved you, where would be the opportunity for your fellow man to put himself out on your behalf?I have a heretical formulation of God, according to religious tenets. But, according to God, I have been divinely blessed. I KNOW God, and I know that I will suffer, and weaken, and know pain, and die. But, I will have lived. I will have seen years of living, and shared the feelings of my loved ones and my not-loved ones. I will have had an existence. I gave birth to children that I loved (not necessarily children that did everything I thought they ought to). I was the child of parents who cared for me. I am a member of the human family, and I am infinitely blessed.This is why I thank God. I am just a cog in this universe, from the very small to the enormous, I am here. I have thought. I have free will. This is God’s gift to me. And, because I have the power to appreciate the enormity of the gift, I am truly blessed. My prayer for you is that you feel God as I do, and you put those hands to work as God would wish you to–feed the hungry, console the sick, visit the imprisoned.Praise God, and Praise His Works.

  • Sterling Weaver

    Z-bob: Is your method of “gain[ing] insight into the nature of “being” that new. Didn’t we at one time long ago call this solipsism?

  • Sterling Weaver

    Z-bob: Is your method of “gain[ing] insight into the nature of “being” that new. Didn’t we at one time long ago call this solipsism?

  • Campbellite

    Sterling Weaver, Z-bob is only a solipsist if he insists that his “self” is the only thing that can known or verified. I thought he was describing more of a meditation practice than a refutation of the existence of other consciousness outside himself.

  • paul

    God is everything. God is nothing.Define God.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Father:The kindness from others is where I daily see God – even from strangers on the Metro.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Father:The kindness from others is where I daily see God – even from strangers on the Metro.

  • z-bob

    To: Sterling Weaver:Of course, people have attempted to gain insight into the nature of consciousness and perception within the material world in which we exist for the entire history of mankind. But today we have the luxury to integrate these insights with the amazing modern theories of the physical sciences and the social sciences. Also, if you read my contribution on our false belief that we exist as separate “selves” then you know my philosophy is anything but solipsistic. To further elaborate on this illusion from part of a previous contribution:Humans conceptualize their surroundings and phenomena in almost every moment of consciousness. Part of this conceptualization is the ability to discriminate between the different material objects that we perceive. Another necessary strategy for survival is the ability to distinguish one’s self from other selves. Other animals also seem to be able to distinguish their individual entities from other entities but to our knowledge, we may be the only animals to have evolved to the point of conceptual self reflection. As highly social creatures with strong attachments to our learned socio-cultural groups, we “create” within our minds a distinction between not only ourselves and other “selves” but also our group and other groups of selves. But doesn’t our false, complex creation of an illusory “self” separate each “individual” from the true nature of the universe: Oneness!Only through evolutionary forces have we developed this false sense of “self” which has increased our chances of survival but veiled us from true reality.

  • michael

    Some will be bewildered by these posts. Others will find it foolish and will enjoy ridiculing the posters. But those readers who are willing will be refreshed.Where is God in this life? Who is He? And if He touches us are we changed?Who does Father Blazek look for and seem to find especially on escalators? Who is the Hound of Heaven who pursued Francis Thompson (a consumate failure in life -homeless and an opium addict) although he “fled Him down the nights and down the days” and “fled Him down the arches of the years”?Who entered Brian Welch’s (Korn’s lead guitarist)life in 2005 and delivered him from a meth induced downward spiral into self destruction?Whether you find these many life stories mystifying or ludicrous: you must ask yourself what was the Catalyst for change.A Muslim’s sincere pursuit of Allah is admirable. But Islam seeks to find deliverance from sin by Sharia legislation. Live sinless or be punished. But holiness in life is the outworking of a relationship with the only LIVING GOD. His Name is JESUS.

  • Spare me

    “A Muslim’s sincere pursuit of Allah is admirable. But Islam seeks to find deliverance from sin by Sharia legislation. Live sinless or be punished. But holiness in life is the outworking of a relationship with the only LIVING GOD. His Name is JESUS.”So Christianity is all carrot no stick, is it? I must have imagined all that talk of Hell and eternal torment. Does your religion or does it not threaten Hell to people who don’t obey God’s supposed commands? Yes it does. Stop bashing other religions, then. To an atheist you all look silly. Christianity for 90% of its existence enforced itself by religious law, torture, massacre of cities, every kind of coercion. Christianity still tries to enforce religious law today. What do you think the “pro-life” movement is doing?To paraphrase that book of yours, I believe you’ve got a large mote in your eye, mate. Or is it a beam?

  • Jon Futrell

    Dr. Blazek: thank you for sharing this experience. It reminds me of a book given to me my a Jesuit priest many years ago when I began considering a vocation: “The practice of the presence of God”. I am closer to this kind of everyday practice today, and I am VERY grateful for those on the same path, sharing their love, their insight, and their gratitude.Blessings,Jon Futrell

  • Mike

    Are all athiests as hateful and arrogant as the posters on this board? Or are these just your run of the mill liberal blog trolls?

  • Neo

    So does God have to pay for parking like the rest of us?

  • kgotthardt

    Sir, thank you for this beautiful piece. No matter who or what we think is divine, we need only to stop and look to find it.My God Rides the MetroMy God rides the Metro.My God rides the Metro.My God rides the Metro.(Draft 1, August 13, 2007)

  • take a chillpill

    spare me:calm down a bit. geez.you are an atheist and say we all “look silly to you”. funny you don’t sound like someone who’s seen something silly. you sound angry.if you really don’t believe in G_d then there is no reason to get your butt on your shoulders over something that is not there- unless there is something else unsettled in you. grow up. everyone works out there own belief system in life.

  • Bill Turecki

    Funny, this past week was the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nakasaki by the United States airforce. They were both urban bombings directed by a Democratic president, a plain speaking Christian from the great state of Missouri. How many innocent Japanese children were instantly incinerated after the explosive flash of those two obvioously bonafide weapons of mass destruction? I’m sure you don’t know. Pondering this atrocity sure doesn’t beat looking for God in the subway but it certainly explains why some of us are wondering lo these past six decades why the WaPo or any other major American paper refuses to print that story instead of yours.

  • Kurt Olaf Peterson

    Jozevz, you are THE MAN.

  • Bill Turecki

    Funny, this past week was the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nakasaki by the United States airforce. They were both urban bombings directed by a Democratic president, a plain speaking Christian from the great state of Missouri. How many innocent Japanese children were instantly incinerated after the explosive flash of those two obviously bonafide weapons of mass destruction? I’m sure you don’t know. Pondering this atrocity sure doesn’t beat looking for God in the subway but it certainly explains why some of us are wondering lo these past six decades why the WaPo or any other major American paper refuses to print that story instead of yours.

  • JB

    I see God in all these stupid comments. You people are obviously here for His and my amusement.Thankfully they will one day get the only thing that all humans deserve in life: death.

  • alan

    Jozevz says: “Castile soap (made of veggies not fat)”Here’s eclat enlightenment:Castile soap is made with vegetable fat…Also, therozine or thorazine?

  • almaden

    Somewhere in the Book of John is this message: “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”Pray that this thought will soften the heart of “Mike” (above), whose hateful words — “run-of-the-mill liberal blog trolls” — betray the kind of sectarian bellicosity, aggression and spitefulness that has fed the policies of the AntiChrist (that’s right, the “Decider”) when he bent to follow the Will he divined from communion with his Higher Father (apparently a prominent Bush household deity). Atheists did not unleash the Iraq War but men who profess faith, men of the “faithiness” persuasion.Let us pray that all Christians, indeed all men and women of whatever faith, will put aside their showbiz “faithiness” — the demonstrative public piety calculated to win political and social status –and do their worshipping in the quieter places of their own hearth, home and heart. (See Susan Jacoby’s “On Faith” corner for secularists, this Post web site.)Let us not ridicule the good Jesuit Father if he chooses to see God in the Metro or Mary on the crust of a croissant. The important thing is, Love is peeping out of his cassock. So long as Love is paramount, the Good Jesuit Father can and will use its coming to resist the blandishments of Power, of Mammon, of Fear, of Lies and Treachery that the AntiChrist seduces us with.Let us put aside the guileful slogans of the AntiChrist’s own Pentagon General, William Boykin, who avers, “The enemy we are fighting in the Middle East is Satan”. Indeed, is it not typical of the Dark Lord AntiChrist to ensnare us with confusion about who is and who isn’t our “foe”, when it is Satan himself who sends us out to kill our fellow men whom Jesus told us are brothers to us, even people of the Book, whom Satan calls “enemies”, innocents or not. “Kill them all, torture them all”, cries the Decider; “God will know his own”. The Constitution is but a “scrap of paper”.The Good Book reminds us, What you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you do for Me. God is Love. But He or She does not and cannot dwell in those who vengefully unleash a terrible sword without cause and without reason and without provocation and without mercy and without compassion for the hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, mutilated and homeless their folly has rained down upon, in anger and retribution for harm inflicted elsewhere by others. God is Love, but He or She is not “shock and awe” or “kick butt, damn you, Hajis” or “an eye for an eye”. This much we intuit from the Good Jesuit’s epiphany, for which we thank him most respectfully.

  • Richard Rosenthal

    ok, if that is what echoes in your skull so be it. Are you interested in what my imagination or the imagination of 6 billion other folks is. I guess if we can all get the story straight and cohesive it will give us comfort heh.

  • richard Rosenthal

    And all you jihadhist skeptics – what did you do? Go ballistic. No acceptance that he has the right to believe, no tolerance, no respect of the 1st amendment. Oh, no. Stomp, burn, throw stones, burn at the stake.Apparently there really is an atheist Talilban.Nothing in that amendment about respecting religion or insanity. There is no athiest taliban. There is no organized religion of athieism and there is not a disorganized religion of athiesm and if there were, the athiests would be the first to ridicule it.

  • bill

    Richard asks:”Does God move to the right?”Well..God moves in a mysterious way,Blind unbelief is sure to err,Hope that answers your question.

  • Andy

    Thank you. As a Jesuit School graduate (LeMoyne) I felt your gift of describing presence in the ordinary.

  • yoyo

    Only religion makes us certain of the existence of the unlikely.As Bertrand Russell has said,religion is not about reason,its all about feeling.

  • dave e

    What a joyful and wonderful post! Thank you.There is then nothing so peaceful and satisfying. I love your enthusiasm for pursuing the only thing that really matters to all of us, our unifying spiritual selves. God is everywhere in the here and now, in this eternal moment.dave e

  • Mark Oberlies

    I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Blazek’s essay. It was beautiful and thoughtful, something usually lacking in the “news of the day”. I would like to read more from him, and especially would find interesting his experiences at the “clinic for the homeless” to which he refers.

  • khote

    You know I don’t want to pick on the author, he seems like a harmless enough guy.He seems to have a very imaginative fantasy life and seems to have arrived there without hallucinogenics as well. Bravo I suppose.He seems a little bit brittle too, I can sense a kind of forced vision about all of this. He states his case like a mantra.One other thing he seems to be: certifiable.

  • Knowinso Jones

    RIGHT ON FATHER !!!!I saw God in person justGod IS alive !!!He presently resides in Argentina !!!

  • Mary Cunningham

    What a delight to glance at “On Faith” and there above the angry atheist outburst of Ms Jacoby and her acolytes was…this! Wonderful publication, Dr. Blazek. It’s good to read some beautiful writing from a Jesuit, Thomas Reese has not represented your order well.I wish I could write that I often have seen God on the London Underground, but all the meditation in the world cannot disguise the hellish atmosphere of the place. I did see this once, however. Crammed into a car, so close that it was impossible to move, or even fall, I raised my eyes and saw this poem. It was so breathtakingly beautiful, such a masterful work of poetry, it could only have come directly from the Creator Himself: “Now we must praise to the skies,__________the Keeper of the heavenly kingdomOur eternal Master,_________the main mover.Then this middle-earth,____the Watcher over humankind,Caedmon’s Hymn, trans. Paul Muldoon

  • Mary Cunningham

    Caedmon’s Hymn was part of a series of “Poetry on the Underground” where poems by modern poets (Paul Muldoon’s trans. was a new one) were posted instead of adverts. The series is gone now, but imagine my pleasure when I opened “Moy Sand and Gravel” by Muldoon and found the poem again! Caedmon’s Hymn is one of the oldest writings in Anglo-Saxon (from which English came) extant. Caedmon was a shepherd attached to Whitby Abbey about AD 657:To ALM: I liked your line about the Hindu tradition about those that do not understand the Presence:”Let the dogs bark, as the elephant ambles blissfully along.”Still dogs and ranting, raging atheist trolls (RATS?) are part of God’s creation. Humans–along with rats — were placed by the Creator in the material world. We might not like it, (the raging trolls don’t, but I do, even the awful Underground makes me feel happy when I get out!) but it is all that is on offer.Shame so many of the athies are so angry, but….

  • Duff

    If you don’t think religion is the only socially acceptable insanity, you will after you’ve read Fr. Blazek’s quaint little piece.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Poor old Duff…the Creator made a beautiful world for us and the good father can see it but you can’t.. Still, I’m not going to waste any pearls–temperance is a cardinal virture after all. But in case you ever get a wee bit more curious (unlikely, I know): Mat7:7-8.

  • Anonymous

    kgotthardt:Mike:

  • Chris

    It is, in my opinion, very sad that so many people in this world lean on religion as an excuse for everything. Without religion there would be no religious extremists. Just think about it for one minute. If you can’t work that out for yourself then there is the problem. It is very important that children are brought up to know right from wrong but fairy stories told centuries ago so that the uneducated masses could understand have no place in today’s world.

  • Arminius

    richard Rosenthal: you saidRespect the first amentment: Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religon or the prohibition thereof.Nothing in that amendment about respecting religion or insanity. There is no athiest taliban. There is no organized religion of athieism and there is not a disorganized religion of athiesm and if there were, the athiests would be the first to ridicule it.———–I am in agreement with this, and will admit that my phrase ‘atheist Taliban’ was said in anger at the lack of respect, or even tolerance, shown by many here. If I have offended, then I apologise. I have personally known many atheists, and very few are arrogant about it. I was an atheist/agnostic myself for 30 years; I accept an atheist with the same respect as I would a member of any religion.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Chris:avers that “fairy stories told centuries ago so that *the uneducated masses*& could understand have no place in today’s world..”You were right to stop right there. I especially object to your Dawkinesque view of religious as “uneducated”. Pope John Paul II spoke eight languages, wrote five books, the Dalai Lama speaks about three and has written extensively. Pope Benedict XVI is the greatest theologian of his era. Sts Augustine and Thomas Acquinas were the greatest *intellects* of their time and Paul was no slouch either. The “uneducated masses” comprise at least two billion–two billion!–of your fellow humanbeings and that’s just the Christians. Believe me, they are not uneducated, a simple bell curve would demonstrate that.. As for the Church whatever its faults (and they are many and regrettable) the fact remains that it is the direct descendant of the Apostles, who were the people specifically chosen by Jesus Himself to learn and spread the Word. It is no accident or coincidence that a few short years of non-violent, non-military, non-coercive ministry in a tiny corner of the world by the Son of God, speaking in Aramaic, has resulted in a faith lasting thousands of years in billions of people. This religion-only-for-the-ignorant trope highlights ignorance alright–the ignorance of the atheists! It deserves as swift a dispatch as possible.

  • The Moderate

    Right fine essay, Fr. Blazek. You have actually written On Faith. So many things published here are not that it sometimes seems the site should be called “Against Faith”.I hope to see more of your well thought out posts here in the future.Pax Vubiscum, Patria.

  • Katie Brick

    Bill -Thanks for the thoughts! I’m about to hop on the ‘el and you’ve given me some inspiration for the journey.I have been rather shocked skimming through the comments at how apparently polarizing your reflective musings on finding God in the everyday are. Wow. Thanks for sharing Ignatius’ discipline and your approach. I appreciate hearing about the paths of those engaged in real meaning-making, whether it is in a framework familiar to me (a Christianity that preaches love and service) or less so (such as Eastern or indigenous traditions).I wish peace on everyone and hope that all can find the spark of the divine, the authentic self, the love in whatever mode they are inspired to seek it in their everyday life. That goes for me too.

  • Jay

    ALL

  • Nicole

    As the scripture tells us, those that follow Christ are supposed to be living beings of him. Meaning when you see a child of God you are supposed to see God. The Love of God. Just the presence of God. WHen you walk in the Spirit God is written all over your face basically. Sometimes you don’t even have to say a word. However, Beware of false prophets. There will be many who say they come in the name of God but don’t know Him. First you must know Jesus to know the Father/The CREATOR God. You can have “God-Like” qualities about you (i.e. the hugging bandit lady or Mother-Theresa) but the bible says that Only those that are “Called” by His Name (Jesus) will be saved and have the Spirit of God on the inside of them.You can also say that you can see Satan in people on the Metro as well. i.e. when you see those healthy young men sitting in seats and even the designated seats for seniors and the disabled, they just sit there like they don’t have any common courtesy at all. That ain’t nothing but the devil. An old lady with a cane can walk on the train and yet everyone will sit there and stare at her and not even get up to give her their seat. Or how about the pregnant lady that looks like she is “10” months pregnant and swollen feet. No matter the fact that it’s not against the law. What if it were your mother carrying you and no one gave up their seat and because she was already off balance just tumbled over and went into early labor with you. How would you like that. No God in that, nothing but the devil. Good topic from the poster.

  • Julie Hamilton

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article, and thank you for it. I will say, though, that descending into the dark, damp-smelling caverns of the Metro system make me think more of Shelob than of God.

  • Steve Wheelock

    Dr. Blazek takes the time to see what he wants to see, and interprets it as he wishes (or is moved to do). Some will consider that a criticism; I do not. To the contrary, I believe he simply shows us how to do in busy city surroundings what so many of us have thought it necessary to retreat into “nature” to do. And it’s really very simple in concept, if difficult in practice: Slow down, quiet yourself, and listen.

  • swissmiss

    Thank you, Father. That was beautiful, and I have printed it out to remind myself of your words.

  • michael

    Fr. Blazek:Words to meditate in our difficult times.For a Christian, Jesus is the man in whom it has indeed become manifest that revolution and conversion cannot be separated in man’s search for experiential transcendence. His appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.Jesus was a revolutionary, who did not become an extremist, since He did not offer an ideology, but Himself. He was also a mystic, who did not use His intimate relationship with God to avoid the social evils of His time, but shocked His milieu to the point of being executed as a rebel. In this sense He also remains for nuclear man the WAY to Liberation and Freedom. Henri Nouwen:Sursum corda..

  • a fellow pilgrim

    Thank you, Dr. Blazek, for sharing your wonderful Examen. AMDG

  • Barbara Bayles-Roberts

    I loved this writing! And it can apply to any faith, for that matter. Some days I thought I was the only one thinking about God on the subway/commuter bus, but then I meet other people that are also of the same mind. This is terrific. However, it behooves us to speak to people who do not appear to have the love of the Lord (or realize they are loved by God, as are we all). Does the writer ever stop to explain God’s love to others?

  • Oh My

    WOW. Some poeple have far too much time on their hands; far too much doctrine in their speech, and far too little in the way of rational thinking abilities…

  • To Jay

    Jay: ~~ Uh, no. The opposite – you would be wasting your time and energy on false hopes and fantasies, instead of living your life in the real world. Lets say there is a giant blob of blue goo; Lets call it Blue Blob (BB); BB says you should do this, should do that, or else. So, you live your life under fear, etc. What if you didn’t believe in BB, but nothing happened? Same thing, different name. I suggest you use your brain, not your brainwashing. Forget what your parents told you, investigate for yourself.

  • Paganplace

    Hee, pretty neat, isn’t it. There’s a tendency for Christians to attribute such experiences to their own God, (and associated dogma that simply has nothing to do with these experiences,) but, at the same time, this is one place where I think many religions can find *common ground.* In such states of awareness, many of the objectifications and habitual patterns we’re subject to hold less purchase. Note how there’s nary a reference to ‘sin’ in the priest’s descriptions, and even then obliquely.The life and breath of the city and the land and the people is something that transcends individual religions: I certainly see the Gods in all these things, in great depth and interplay, among humans, spirits, and even the artifice we live among. For those that balk at theism or talk of spirit, well, it’s not really about believing anything or seeing anything that’s not there.Call it one of the more wonderful faculties of the human mind. People spend so much time cognitively dividing and classifying and reacting by habit that they often don’t even scratch the surface of their own perceptions. And here I go quoting this Pagan-oriented band. :)”Through the curtains the daylight creptAs I was driving into townOutside the museum I was addressedFat woman standing in a queueCame home and halfway up the stairsThe President was on the news at tenStood in front of the mirror all aloneIt was a wonderful disguise.”–The Waterboys

  • Brianno

    I ride a commuter train to work every day. Sitting on “The Quiet Car” – no cellphones, no loud conversations, etc., I can quietly do my daily scripture readings, say prayers to myself, and reflect on the scripture themes for that week as they affect my life. I find that by the time I get to the office (1 hour), I am relaxed, energized, and can “hit the ground running” as they say at work. I work as a technical expert, and do not find God in all the equipment I manage, but I do see Him in people throughout the day, and try to practice my faith in all that I do. I usually miss the mark, but at least I try, and I learn from my mistakes. This IS a broken world that we live in, but with a little effort on our part – putting faith into action – we can (an do) make a difference.

  • Brianno

    I ride a commuter train to work every day. Sitting on “The Quiet Car” – no cellphones, no loud conversations, etc., I can quietly do my daily scripture readings, say prayers to myself, and reflect on the scripture themes for that week as they affect my life. I find that by the time I get to the office (1 hour), I am relaxed, energized, and can “hit the ground running” as they say at work. I work as a technical expert, and do not find God in all the equipment I manage, but I do see Him in people throughout the day, and try to practice my faith in all that I do. I usually miss the mark, but at least I try, and I learn from my mistakes. This IS a broken world that we live in, but with a little effort on our part – putting faith into action – we can (an do) make a difference.

  • Athena

    You don’t have to believe in a deity to see the beauty in everything. All you have to do is change your attitude. Yes, there is a lot of ugliness in the world. To use our Metro as an example, there is racist and gang graffiti all along the eastern part of the Red Line, as well as litter. But there are also trees, grass, and birds. What does one focus on – the trees growing green in the spring, or counting the instances of “Cool Disco Dan”? Being a Pagan, I tend to see nature as beautiful. Your mileage may vary.

  • Maria Antonia Mariscal de Zabiega

    Great article! Although I don’t ride the metro, I try to find God in my everyday obligations, especially going grocery shopping. Some people can be rude and confrontational at the grocery store and malls; I’ve seen it. All I do is say a little prayer and admire all the nice things that people tend to overlook. Thanks!

  • Donna Blazek Quinlivan

    Cousin Bill,

  • MaggieD

    The funny thing is that the people who post so angrily must be very frightened that there might just be a God. Or is it themselves that they hate?

  • WILLEM

    OH JESUS MARIA PLEEZE WHAT HAS THIS DUDE BEEN SMOKING??

  • kgotthardt

    This essay is not about a particular faith. It’s about seeing the inherent worth in each of us and each moment. And if we saw the worth of every human being, we would be less likely to kill one another. We can’t always achieve this ideal, but if we don’t hold it as an ideal, what will become of the Earth?If things are bad, we need to make sense of it all and FIX it. When we believe in our own worth and the worth of others, we can do this. It’s not about religion. It’s about appreciation.

  • kgotthardt

    Anon, glad to have made your morning. Here’s the revision.My God Rides the MetroMy God rides the Metro.girls kneeling sideways in their seats,My God rides the Metro.He smells hard work and damp papers,My God rides the Metro.hopes we might glance back,(Draft 3, August 15, 2007)

  • kgotthardt

    Anon, glad to have made your morning. Here’s the revision.My God Rides the MetroMy God rides the Metro.girls kneeling sideways in their seats,My God rides the Metro.He smells hard work and damp papers,My God rides the Metro.hopes we might glance back,(Draft 3, August 15, 2007)

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Matt wrote:’It sounds like he is basically talking about mindfulness. What he calls “seeing god” I think I refer to in my own experience as “being in the moment”.’Matt has it right: Father Blazek is actually practicing Buddhist meditation, though he seems not to be aware that he is doing so.If Father Blazek could decouple his actual perceptions from his self-imposed Christian overlay and context, and leave “God” out of it, what he writes would be seen to be interesting and beautiful, and would elicit appreciation rather than scorn from many of the posters here.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Norrie Hoyt advises that Fr Blazek–a Jesuit Scholastic and priest– ‘improve’ himself by leaving God out of his meditations and thus find happiness not scorn “from many of the posters here”…Well, that is rich, Mr Hoyt, even from an ex- lawyer. Why would you think Fr Blazek seeks the approbation of the atheist trolls who post here? He probably values the heartfelt thanks from believers expressed above, including fellow Jesuits and his own sister, more than he fears the ‘scorn’ from those in various states of disbelief, active or passive. I will allow that many ranting atheist trolls dominate On ‘Faith’ (surely the worst misnomer since an invasion for oil was cast as spreading “democracy”!) However just because they do does not mean they ought to. Just because it is, doesn’t mean it ought to be.

  • Betty Blazek

    Hello, this is your cousin Betty. My sister Bev sent me your article, and I enjoyed reading it. As I’m writing this, I’m looking off the deck of my condo at the harbor full of boats and can plainly see God. I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where you don’t even have to try in order to see the beauty of God’s creations.

  • khote

    M Cunningham, you seem to have mistaken disdain for hatred.Think about ponds of standing water – in a malarial-infested part of the world. Tires in the back yard, things and places that catch rain and keep it there.We know to worry about mosquitos carrying this bacteria and we take steps to prevent them from getting to us. Mosquito nets and bug spray and all that. But prevention is another weapon in this battle, why not poison the standing pools of water, why not dump the tire, why not just throw the tire away somewhere?This is an unfortunate metaphor for the disdain and dislike we feel for the believer. The believer, due to their credulity and gullibity, are prone to infection by Mass Movements. We think of the jihadis, we think of the Jim Jones, we think of Charles Manson, we think of the political true believers who made communism possible, we think of those nuts who thought they could fly up to the comet by relieving themselves of their physical body.All it takes is a sufficiently charismatic leader and the right amount of credulity and gullibility among a population of believers, and before you know it – apocaplypse!Your particular belief seems to involve a particular monotheistic religion, but it still falls within the class of True Belief, the disease of unquestioning Blind Faith.I remember Jerry Fallwell making the claim that his god abandoned America because of the homosexuals and feminists and whatever. His kind feel quite satisfied to pass and enforce religous laws upon all of us, to ensure that his god will not abandon … well his followers anyway. Our disdain and sometimes passionate dislike of the beliefs of the believer have very little to do with the particular content of that belief. Because that content means everything to you, you should not mistake that it means anything to us.The author we speak of here appears to me to be quite insane, and those who follow him with the pats on the back seem to be supporting this insanity.Can you understand this?

  • michael

    Betty:”I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where you don’t even have to try in order to see the beauty of God’s creations.”I too choose to live close to what God has created. It’s soothing to be aware of the seasons, the tides, and the waxing and waning of the moon. There is a careful order and symmetry found only in nature.I love to garden. the planning, the planting, the watching, the watering, the harvest, the mulching..Many in my generation are missing the great beauty this earth still has to offer..

  • To Mary Cunnningham

    Your comments on athiests ‘trolls’ on this website is yet another instance of the believers not wanting information and opinions from the nonbelievers. Last I checked, us Athiests are allowed to comment here, and as a rule, have been chastised into silence over the past, oh, 2000 years (since monotheism was invented). The last 6 years under Dufus Bush have been particularly telling about how the religious people of the US do not in any way shape or form tolerate those of us who do not believe in your, or anyone elses god. Heres an experiment: Change any of the faithfuls entries here from the word ‘god’ to the term “Blue Blob”. Now that we are on common ground, (neither of us understand what Blue Blob is), now re-read the entries, and this is how non believers are reading entries splattered with religious terms – they do not apply to those who do not believe. As a rule, athiests that I know do not disparage others from their religious beliefs; on the other hand, rarely if ever do I meet a religious person who is not ‘offended’ by the fact that I dont believe in a god.

  • Meaghan N.

    Great article Dr. Blazek!

  • Sentinel

    The question may arise why someone who is not in agreement with the tenets would read such an article. The answer for some readers, in my opinion, is first and foremost “know thine enemy.” People have been sensitized by the situation in the United States where religious, mind-numbing foolishness propagated by various groups has permeated society. The religious nonsense presented in the article is tolerable and acceptable if the ideas remain in the realm of a person’s privacy. American religious groups, however, are not content to praise their god in private; they want their beliefs reflected in public institutions. That circumstance alone would prompt some readers to pay attention to publication of such an article courtesy of a mainstream US newspaper. Moreover, William Blazek would be well advised to lie low in view of the history of his Jesuits. Furthermore, as result of the plight of his Roman Catholic Church in the United States because of child abuse, Dr. Blazek would do well to concentrate his efforts on helping people not to feel they are seeing the face of the Devil every time they encounter a priest on the street.

  • Whatever

    To those of you who find God(s) on the public transportation system: keep on smokin’ what you’ve been smokin’ because it’s obviously making you happy.To those of you who find God(s) while operating an automobile: please keep off the nation’s roadways. You are endangering yourselves and others around you.

  • MKR

    I often notice the people on the Metro reading the bible usually take up both seats and are oblivious to the old man or the pregnant woman forced to stand. Some people just don’t get it.

  • MKR

    I often notice the people on the Metro reading the bible usually take up both seats and are oblivious to the old man or the pregnant woman forced to stand. Some people just don’t get it.

  • MKR

    I often notice the people on the Metro reading the bible usually take up both seats and are oblivious to the old man or the pregnant woman forced to stand. Some people just don’t get it.

  • Rick

    Dr. Blazek:I am an atheist (a benevolent one, ha-ha), and also a co-worker. I also see the simple things of beauty in everyday items, in the kindness of people thrown together for a short while on public transit, and in the little things of each day.While I don’t ascribe them to “God” I do appreciate the beauty and intricacy of nature and the world and all of the things which inhabit it.I truly enjoyed your words, and learning about your perspective on your daily life, and how it manifests itself in your own spirituality.Rick

  • Non-Believer

    Just because I don’t believe in God, I’m not a bad person. I still have morals and understanding of right and wrong. There doesn’t have to be a God for someone to appreciate beauty or kindness. I’m glad believing gives many people comfort and joy. I like Christmas. I like Easter. I don’t think people who believe in God are stupid. I don’t think I’m superior to someone because they have faith. I do not believe, but I hope I am wrong. Some of my best friends are religious. A not so great man (Rodney King) once asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

  • ETS

    I just got to the point where I can see God in my trials. It’s a bit of a relief.

  • michael

    Searching for God in the moment isn’t exactly new: Ancient Celtic PrayerGod to enfold me.God in my sleeping.God in my life.God in my sufficing.I work with people who are critically or terminally ill. I rely on prayer because often the greatest thing I have to offer is the comfort of my presence and my witness.

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