One of the major tasks for Christian spirituality is to regain ‘what is real’. Virtual reality is penetrating us. The artificial, the ‘digitalised’ and the ‘mediatized’ is evacuating the reality sensors of our hearts. For Biblical religions retaining the sense of time (history), communal links, and undivided attention when praying to God are vital grounds. Without them, religion breaks down. Without remaining faithful to the real, prayer, the breath-taking of spiritual life, becomes unreal. In Biblical terms, we shall be exiled into the fake or secondary realities of the cyber space.
Sharing Habakkuk’s experience of inner suffering and spiritual distress is an important part of regaining the reality of God. Listening to the pains of the soul which is deprived of God’s Presence, to he reality of our pain, is our awakening. ‘O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years…’ Crying to God in the years of our captivity, from behind the impenetrable walls of ‘the unreal’, is that bridge, through which what is evacuated from our life can return to us.
‘Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold… yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.’
This bridge (even though a painful cry) is a miraculous one. Through this thin golden thread, we can be lifted above our age: elevated to the realm of grace where we can regain our strength and orientation. A lot, perhaps everything, depends on if Christian communities (the local churches) undertake this slow and challenging journey - as the process of their being healed into the Real God.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..