SEEK FROM WITHIN
You can’t design programs or technology that automatically lead to God. There aren’t methods to meet God that are certain. Each one needs to follow one’s own path, since each one has a way of opening self to the mystery of God. However, not everything equally favors an awakening of faith.
There are people who never talk about God with anyone. It’s a forbidden topic; God belongs to the private sphere. But even then they don’t ever think about God or remember God in the intimacy of their conscience. This attitude, pretty frequent even among those who call themselves believers, leads almost always to a weakening of faith. When something never gets remembered, it ends up dying by forgetfulness and starvation.
There are, on the contrary, people who seem very interested in religious things. They like to raise questions about God, creation, the Bible…. They ask question after question, but don’t wait for answers. It seems not to interest them. Naturally all these words are empty if there’s not a sincere seeking of God within. What’s important isn’t talking about «religious things», but making room for God in our own life.
Others like to discuss religion. They don’t know how to talk about God if it’s not about defending their own position and attacking anything different. In reality, all too often discussion about religious themes doesn’t do anything except favor intolerance and the hardening of positions. However, whoever sincerely seeks God listens to the experience of those who believe in God and even the experience of those who have abandoned God. I have to find my own path, but I’m interested in knowing where others find meaning, encouragement and hope in dealing with our existence.
Whatever the case, what’s most important to getting ourselves directed toward God is to call on God in the secret of the heart, alone, in the intimacy of one’s own conscience. That’s where one opens self confidently to the mystery of God or where one decides to live alone, as an atheist, without God. Someone could say to me: «But how can I call on God if I don’t believe in God or if I’m not sure of anything?». You can. That sincere calling in the midst of darkness and doubt is probably one of the more pure and humble ways of opening ourselves to the Mystery and making ourselves sensitive to God’s presence in the depth of our being.
The fourth Gospel reminds us that there are sheep who «aren’t of the fold» and who live far from the believing community. But Jesus says: «I must lead these too; they too will listen to my voice». Those who truly seek God listen sooner or later to the attraction of Jesus in the depths of their heart. At the beginning somewhat tentatively, later with more faith and trust, some day with deep joy.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf