Capax Dei

One of the effects of my bilingual brain is that I can look at a word in various languages, and within it see its - sometimes close, sometimes distant - cousin or ancestor. And so it was that on Trinity Sunday I ended up pondering a Latin word, thanks to my friend Preferring Nothing to Christ, who began her blog with...

The mystics believed that we are all born with a capacity for God (Capax Dei). St Augustine believed that this capacity makes it possible for the human person to be re-formed through God’s gracious gift.

It was that Capax which caught my attentionLong before I learned Latin, or had words like capacity in my vocabulary, I would have looked at Capax and seen its direct descendant, the Italian word capace, which means able. But this time I looked at Capax, saw capace for a nanosecond, and then... its close relative, capacious appeared.

And of course...! Capacity isn't only about ability; when we talk about the size of an arena, for example, and how many people it can hold, we talk about its capacity. And in a moment a capacity for God was transformed, from capability of knowing, of longing, of seeking... to capaciousness; to an inner spaciousness capable of being widened and deepened, and an emptiness waiting to be filled. Or, as the blog went on to say... All your love, your stretching out, your hope, your thirst, God is creating in you so that he may fill you.

If we truly believe that God dwells within us, we can ask ourselves how much space we allow him to occupy, and how capacious we're prepared to allow ourselves to become. May our hearts especially become more like the Heart of Jesus - increasingly, capaciously, generously open to God, and to God's desire for us.