divine contraband and the divine stowaway
‘When I stand before customs-officers and police-commissioners,
I smile mischievously, for no one detects
the divine contraband, the stowaway,
whose highly discreet presence is visible
only to angels’ glances.’
Dom Helder Camara
I sometimes smile when I hear people say that we must keep God out of certain things. That idea came back to me when I read this quote from Dom Helder Camara, a political bishop and mystic from Brazil, who died in 1999.
Troublesome priests are locked up, or worse, by repressive governments, not just for themselves, but because they carry divine contraband, they have a divine stowaway on board.
But this idea of divine contraband is also one of hope. In politics there is divine contraband, a divine stowaway hiding in someone. God can’t be kept out. In the world of business there is divine contraband, a divine stowaway hiding in someone. God can’t be kept out.
But this is also true in our own lives. There is no part of our own life that is unworthy of our attention, or God’s.
We can pay attention to our body and find divine contraband. We can step out of clock-time for three minutes, for one minute, and find divine contraband. There is no place where God cannot emerge.