TO LIVE GOD FROM THE INSIDE
Some years ago, the great German theologian, Karl Rahner, dared to affirm that the main and most urgent problem in the church today is her «spiritual mediocrity». These were his words: the true problem of the Church is «to keep trudging on with a resignation and an ever greater tedium along the routine paths of a spiritual mediocrity».
The problem hasn’t done anything except get worse in these last decades. It has served us little to try to reform institutions, preserve the liturgy or keep watch over orthodoxy. In the hearts of many Christians the interior experience of God is being extinguished.
Modern society has positioned itself in «the exterior». Everything invites us to live on the outside. Everything pressures us to move about hurriedly, without stopping for anything or anyone. Peace doesn’t have a chance now to penetrate our heart. We’re almost always caught up in life’s shortness. We’re forgetting what it means to savor life from within. For a human being, our life lacks an essential dimension: interiority.
It’s sad to observe that not even in Christian communities do we know how to care for and promote the interior life. Many don’t know what’s in the silence of their heart, they aren’t taught to live faith from within. Deprived of an inner experience, we hang on for dear life, forgetting about our soul: listening to words with our ears and pronouncing prayers with our lips, while our heart is nowhere to be found.
In the Church there’s much talk about God, but where and when do we believers listen to the silent presence of God in the deepest depths of our heart? Where and when do we welcome the Spirit of the Resurrected One in our inner self? When do we live in communion with the Mystery of God from within?
To welcome God’s Spirit within means at least two things. The first is to not keep putting God far away and outside of ourselves: we need to learn to listen to God in the silence of our hearts. The second is to get God out of our head and down into our depths; that is, to stop thinking of God only with the mind and to learn to perceive God in the most intimate part of our being.
This interior experience of God, something real and concrete, transforms our faith. You wonder how you could live without having discovered this before. It’s possible to encounter God within us even in a secularized culture. It’s also possible to know an inner joy that’s new and different. It seems to me very difficult to maintain faith in God for very long in the midst of the agitation and frivolity of modern life, without knowing, albeit in a humble and simple way, some interior experience of the Mystery of God.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf