Recently, I was babysitting my eight-year-old nephew, Joshua. At day’s end, we were snuggled in and had said some prayers. Ever inquisitive and curious about the bigger questions in life, we’d discussed angels and saints and the whereabouts of our loved ones who’d died. Still on big things, Josh started sharing his knowledge of “googal,” a number equal to 10 to the power of 100—in other words, an unfathomable number! He was quizzing me about the magnitude of this figure and the number of zeroes it contained, and after many, “I don’t knows,” I finally said, “Maths just isn’t my strength, Josh.” He instantly replied, “No, no, Fi. Your strength is creativity and love.”
Upon hearing these words, my heart melted. This beautiful little boy sees my strengths as “creativity and love” and has the insight and clarity to name those. In that moment, and many times afterwards, I’ve thanked God, because it’s provided me a sense of hope that I might be doing something right. It speaks to the deep desire in my own heart to be someone who listens and acts upon the loving, generative, and creative Spirit of God, which dwells within me.
Ignatian spirituality emphasises the notion that God the Creator invites each of us into a relationship of love and creativity. We are invited to be co-creators with God, in love. The two are so interlinked! Indeed, each time I create something that has sparked from the Spirit within, and which is enacted with love, I am co-creating with God. I am saying “Yes” to this beautiful invitation to bring forth, or birth, something that will speak to the beauty, wonder, and mystery of God.
Another thing I deeply appreciate about Ignatian spirituality is the foundational principle that we can find God in all things, everywhere, at all times. It makes the reality of God in my world concrete. I don’t have to go anywhere to find God. Rather, God is here with me right now, in my own heart, in my own circumstances, and in particular, in the created world around me. I’ve long felt a particular connection to God in the natural world—in the rivers and oceans, the rolling hills and mountains, the flowers and the vegetable patch—even in the worms and spiders. Each is special in its own way, contributing to the beautiful tapestry of life and creation.
I am deeply conscious that when I answer the call or nudge of the Spirit to create something with love, I am cooperating in God’s bigger plan to be a co-creator. As I embark upon the project, I feel excited and enthused. I feel God’s presence and can enjoy the creative process. For example, over the past few months, I’ve been swimming in the open waters in the early morning. I have a special camera, which allows me to capture the mystery and beauty of this underwater world. Each day, as I soak up the very cold but refreshing water that envelops my skin, I am filled with wonder and awe and reminded of God’s vast creation. I witness the streaks of light through the water, highlighting the various shades of blue, aqua, green, and turquoise. And when I share my photos on social media, the responses too are filled with wonder, awe, appreciation, and gratitude. Touched by my creation, perhaps someone is inspired to care for creation in a deeper, more profound way or encouraged to create something of beauty of her or his own!
Back on land, when I’m taking a stroll in my neighborhood, savoring the colorful display of blooming daisies, I witness how my heart expands and marvels at their beauty. I feel God’s love in that moment, and so I poise my camera to capture the shape, form, vivid color, and clarity. I create a photograph that captures the beauty, which I can then share with the world. Again, it’s my way of concretely sharing God’s love and creation, as well as my own, with the world.
In my home, I enjoy creating delicious meals that draw together leftovers or “bits and pieces” from the fridge and cupboard. As I peel the vegetables, slice the meat, or stir the pot, my heart is warm, and I feel God’s presence. As I create this nourishing meal, God is with me. We are creating together.
Creativity is such a beautiful notion. It’s an open and unending invitation to give life to something that comes from within. Perhaps the Spirit has moved or nudged one to create a card or to write a few reflective lines in a notebook. Or perhaps another concocts a toy from old wooden materials and passes it onto a younger family member. It might be none of these. And that’s the beauty. God invites each of us in a unique way into a life of creativity and love. The two are so intertwined and speak to the reality of God in our hearts and lives and how we make God’s presence known among others.
- How can you make the interconnected beauty of creativity and love more concrete in your life?
- How can you participate in God’s beautiful plan of creativity and love in your life?