Providence Associate Sheila Galvin reflects on those “thin places” where heaven is very close to Earth.

The concept of “thin times” has captivated my thoughts and stirred my being for more than a year now. “Thin times” was a topic of discussion in our March 2016 Providence Associates Retreat. At that retreat, Sister Ann Sullivan described thin times/places as “Providence alive in very being.” She shared that “thin times” is a Celtic saying meaning that heaven and Earth are much closer in thin times and places. This concept has been a recurring theme during my quiet reflection and in spirited conversation with dear ones in my life. Just this week, it was a topic for meditation and reflection in our Associates’ weekly email.

In the retreat materials, Sister Ann Sullivan included this chant, from a piece by Joyce Rupp:

Lead Me in Your Love
Thin places
Where the door between this world
And the next is cracked open
For a moment
And the light is not all on the other side
Thin places transform us.
In thin places we become our
More essential selves

Recently I have begun reading Richard Rohr’s daily meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation. There I found this Meister Eckhart quote: “The eye with which I see God is the same one with which God sees me.” This, says Richard Rohr, is “stressing the complete simultaneity of the energy of connection.” He continues, “When we yearn, we come into a sympathetic vibration with a deeper heart-knowing … it connects us. Yearning is a vibration of the connectedness.”

Is this “complete simultaneity,” this “vibration” descriptive of thin time? I knew a Sister of Charity who once said that her longing is to vibrate with the divine. This statement has remained with me for years. I am certain she has achieved this goal, if not during this life then in her passing through to the next.

I don’t know that I have profound ideas about “thin times” as much as I have great curiosity and now new terminology to describe moments when it seems the veil is most sheer between the living and those who have passed. Between two hearts who hear each other’s song. For those times when the divine shines through the eyes of those in our midst and pierces the heart. For times when colors, vibrancy, the wind or stillness in nature takes our breath away. Or for the swelling of my heart when music sweeps me up, fills me and grounds me.

I feel called to simply be aware, to be open, to notice and to reflect on such profound connection/oneness. And, I pray that we each may experience Providence so alive in very being.