Hydrated in God’s Love – Ignatian Spirituality

Most people would assume that pearls of water as tiny as the heads of a pin are useless and worthless. But when you add water, they flicker until they are the size of large marbles. They are translucent and brightly colored. When fully saturated, they are used in vases to hold flowers.

The dry pearls hold so much potential. Just add water and watch.

The pearls are like people. When we are dehydrated from forgetting Jesus, the living water, we shrink and feel insignificant. Some would belittle our worth. But they’d be wrong. Add the living water and we can become beautiful and support others.

I took five dry pearls to my wives’s weekly breakfast. I asked the waiter for a glass of water and told the women that the pearls represented the five of us. We may not seem like much, we are all over 65, but we hold the presence of Jesus and we are still growing.

The blue pearls came back to life very slowly. And since I’ve used them several times, some pearls gave off gossamer strands that looked like incense rising in water.

“These pearls are like us,” laughed one eighty-year-old in our group. “Our body is no longer as resilient as it used to be.”

Then we all noticed something interesting. Because of the facets on the glass, it appeared that there were more than five pearls underwater. Surely there were additional pearls. We counted again: still only five physical pearls, but it looked like they weren’t alone in the water.

I remembered Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they did not worship idols. They survived because a guardian angel came into the fire with them. (Daniel 3: 16-50)

The five of us had the feeling that we were not alone at the table in the café. It’s true, we sat so far apart that there was room for our guardian angels between us. And our waiter was there waiting to distribute our plates because we prayed with our heads down.

God’s Holy Spirit was with us too, right there in that ordinary cafe. From our hellos and sharing updates to our opening prayer and conversations about menus, God was present. At this little gathering, we swell with hope, like colored pearls in a glass of water.

Never underestimate the power of small groups to change the world. At a time when all the news seems bad, God is much bigger than our problems, the cancers among us, the dysfunction, COVID, and people’s fear and need. Our loving God moisturizes us for the difficult journey and makes us beautiful, even if we radiate parts of ourselves in service. We are beautiful and even more powerful when we let God fill us with love.

Five women at a table in a restaurant keep many around us upright while God hydrates our relationships and we become more beautiful without trying. It’s in our nature; we were created this way – images of God – and we are not alone. God makes beautiful things of us. Love makes us aroused and increases our impact. We have work to do by simply letting the living water fill us.

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