“Everything exists in a state of potentiality. When God creates, God does not bring about new essences, but God brings to completion or actualization that which he created as incomplete or as potential.” Ilia Delio interpreting thoughts of Bonaventure (1250 AD)
You do not “have” potential, you “are” potential.
Truly this, for me, is one of the most life-impacting ideas I have come across for years. As human persons, we are born incomplete, like an empty container just waiting to be filled. And particularly, we await the filling of grace to live in harmony with Divine Intention.
That leaves me to even more wondering: What is Divine Intention? In the book of the Minor Prophet Amos, the writer says, “This is what is good in the eyes of God: To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly as if in the presence of God.”
Although we all would agree that Divine Intention is not limited to the words of Amos, the words of the prophet are indeed a helpful description of the kinds of actions we might expect from a person that is approaching their fulfilled potential in the image of God.
What if we took those words of Amos as ones of direction for living into our potential? What if everyone in every country of the world acted justly toward others, sought out a heart of mercy, and leaned into humility as a prime state of being?
What if our potential has nothing to do with success as we typically define it, but rather a gifted and giving life of justice and mercy and humility?
This makes sense. If we are created as potential, in the image of God, then our ultimate goal is to fill that potentiality by becoming more like God. And what is God if not loving acts such as justice, mercy, and humility. Yes, this is the nature of God. And this is the potential we spend our entire lives trying to live into.
Calling and Potential
Just this morning and early afternoon I attended a Zoom Seminar hosted by the faculty of the Richard Rohr-founded Center for Action and Contemplation (or CAC). A handful of sentences/quotes is all that remains in my mental files.
Brian McClaren shared his thoughts on the controversial and oft-times troubling word alluded to in Scripture as “Calling.” He points out that calling is often considered some kind of “privilege” afforded the receiver—with something like heaven or “special relationship with God.”
However, Brian disagreed. According to him, we are called, not to privilege, but to responsibility. We are called for service. Or perhaps… we are called to participate in the fulfillment of our potential.
Created with potential we are called to live it. In the words of Jesus, “Be complete as your Father is heaven is complete.” That, is our potential.
You Are Potential
Called to Serve!
Photo courtesy of fcscafeine at istockphoto