Spirit Quest


From darkness into light ... Come, creator spirit

In the miracle at the San Jose mine

we find a reflection of the miracle of life itself

THE SPIRIT was palpable, more than any words can describe, indeed more than the pictures of the media can convey. THE SPIRIT, what I attempt to write about weekly, was borne witness to the human and technological drama at the mine head and deep below the barrens of northern Chile.

Like people around the world my spouse and I sat mesmerized before the screen long after our bedtime to witness as the miners, once presumed dead, became very much alive. We both were near tears as the reunited families embraced: “For this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost but is found.” as the words of Jesus’ parable have it.

Some will argue in favour of the “human spirit” its power for survival, to be undounted by masses of rock. Nor am I  against this view. However, I opt for a Spirit that is more than human but embodies the human, the cosmic  and dare I say The Divine.

In my Spirit Quest I attempt to seek out the spiritual aspect of life. I have sought to argue that no one has total possession of the spirit. The church through the centuries of its existence has insisted that it has possession of the spirit, albeit inherited. It has assumed that it alone has the power to transmit  the spirit to humans. The Reformers argued against this view.

The evidence of the miners’ quest is that when discovered alive in the bowels of the earth, when able to communicate with the outside world,  asked not only for food to sustain their bodies and other essentials for living, but also symbols of faith, the bible, crucifixes and other artifacts of religion to sustain hope, perhaps even as a means to influence the Great Spirit.

Arguments for the efficacy of prayer will be enhanced as happens in any catastrophe that has a happy ending. Unfortunately there are too many cases where in spite of prayer and pleas to the divine, suffering and death were not avoided, as on battlefields, in hospitals, as well as mines.

What the spirit has done in these last days is unite people, in Chile and indeed around the globe, combining love, compassion and hope, and not least of all human efforts and ingenuity.

Many have called the rescue a miracle and indeed the efforts of the engineers had elements of the miraculous. Someone once defined miracle to me as that which in spite of all knowledge now and ever, remains unexplainable. That’s about right. All of life is a miracle and every new discovery raises new questions.

We stand in awe before the imponderable mystery of life. We must avoid the arrogance of knowing  and instead adopt an attitude of humility of being known.

The miracle of the San Jose mine has been described as a new birth out of the womb of mother earth. It is an apt description of the emergence again and again of the Fenix (Phoenix) Capsule through the narrow birth canal, from darkness into light. For many of the miners and their loved ones that analogy is very real.

Anyone who has witnessed a birth cannot help but speak in terms of the miracle of life. Unfortunately I missed the very event by a few minutes as my offspring sprung to life, but the miracle didn’t end there. It continues as my children grow to adulthood and then become parents themselves.

The miracle in the barrens of the Atacama Desert is but an instance in a greater and ongoing  miracle as the spirit manifests its power.

On the day of the rescue, October 13, a day that will find a place of honour in the calenders of the future, my spouse and I  went for a hike in the hills of Gatineau Park. We were surrounded by the rugged beauty. From time to time we paused at information stations to read about the very formation  of the rocks we scrambled over, the ice age and the kilometre think blanket that covered this terrain, of the sea and the evidence of sea life to be found in these rockls. It is awe - full. I felt very small. And then upon returning home witnessed the conclusion of the rescue. We are small but under the power of the spirit wonderous things can be accomplished through the agency of humans.

I quest for that spirit. I struggle to live in concert with that spirit. One of the ancient and most poignant hymns of Christendom is the Latin chant:

Veni Creator Spiritus:  Come creator spirit.

I believe there is a spirit that imbues creation. Avoid the arrogance of ownership but stand in awe of all of Life.