Not Whether, But How God is Present

The other day, the priest celebrating a Mass I attended began his homily with the story of a man seeking God. The man climbed to the top of a mountain and cried out loudly, “Lord, let me hear you.” A bird flew by singing.

Still longing for God, the man cried out loudly, “Lord, let me see you.” He noticed some children playing nearby.

Still longing for God, the man cried out loudly, “Lord let me feel your presence.” A gentle wind caressed his face.

Still longing for God, the man cried out loudly, “Lord, let me know you are present.” A beautiful butterfly passed immediately in front of him.

The man came down from the mountain bitterly disappointed that he had not experienced God. He came home to the daughters he loved, and still did not recognize the presence of God.

My spirituality is heavily Ignatian, an approach that presupposes that all of our experience has a religious dimension. All the world – all that exists – is suffused with the reality of God’s presence. This is not pantheism. I’m not saying the world is God or the trees outside are God, the way a pantheist would. Rather, that God’s spirit impregnates everything. This is sacramentality at its fullest; in the words of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

For me the Incarnation is about a God that desires to be united with us in our entire experience of life. Meaning that God is present in every human experience. That means we are never listening for whether God is present but for how God is present.

In each moment of our existence, God is communicating to us who God is, trying to draw us into an awareness, a consciousness of his presence. Whether or not we are aware of it, at every moment of our existence, we are encountering this God who is continually trying to draw our attention to relationship with God.

Our task is to become more aware of the presence of God in our live so that we can deepen our conscious relationship with God who is always present in everything.

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