by Rachel Inglis

Posted 27 November 2016


pelicans flying in the sky


I was given this lovely poem by Mechthild of Magdeburg a few months’ ago.

A fish cannot drown in water,

A bird does not fall in air.

In the fire of its making,

Gold doesn’t vanish:

The fire brightens.

Each creature God made

must live in its own true nature;

How could I resist my nature,

That lives for oneness with God?

The rightness of living in one's ‘own true nature’ is brought home to me when I observe my little Westie. She’s a terrier, she can only be a terrier; and so she sniffs and digs holes and chases things. She doesn’t fetch and drop play-things back at my feet, she shakes them until the stuffing is knocked out of them. I find myself inwardly applauding her whenever she behaves utterly Westie-like.


She inspires me to get in touch with my ‘own true nature’ and to acknowledge and enjoy it. As Mechthild asks herself: “How could I resist my nature, that lives for oneness with God?” Yet it feels like I’ve spent most of my life resisting just that!


In true Ignatian style, I ask myself, what are the things that help me to live for oneness with God, and what things hinder me? These seem like really good questions to ponder through Advent.


I’m very tempted to make The Big Gesture: resolve to do a bible study every day, or better yet, read through the bible in a year. Surely that will bring me oneness with God?


two people sitting on seashore watching waves


But no, what I suspect is, it’s in the small gestures ……………. learning to live in the present moment …………. being truly present to people when I’m with them ………………. awareness of the lovely robin that’s taken up residence in my garden, of the beauty of the intricate patterns the frost makes on leaves and grass, of the joy in my Westie’s whole being when she runs like the wind ……………. meeting Christ in other people. That’s when I feel I am one with God.


close-up of frost on plants