Dios es todo. God is everything.


Johannes Vermeer,
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

That single phrase brought me to a standstill. I had to pause to try to take it in, to absorb the full weight of it. I am still struggling to do so.

We were gathered at Beatitude House, the Catholic Worker House in Guadualupe, California, listening to the testimony of two fieldworkers, Thelma and Victor. It was Thelma who had spoken these words in response to a question from a student. He wanted to know about the importance of her spirituality to the life she was living. Thelma waited while the question was translated from English to Spanish, then responded quickly and forcefully: Dios es todo. She looked up at us, her eyes flashing, as if to say: you understand, yes?

Well, yes and no. I cannot speak for the others who were gathered there that evening, but in that moment I became acutely aware of my inability to offer such a wholehearted affirmation to that question in relation to my own life. Perhaps in particular moments I can do so. But rarely with the utter conviction and deep feeling I heard in Thelma’s voice and saw in her eyes. I was so grateful to receive this gift from her. But I also felt pierced by the realization of how far I am from being able to live with and from this awareness. Read the rest of this entry »