God wants us to know him. He sent Jesus, his Word, to “show us the Father.” His Holy Spirit inspired Scripture and breathed into the teachings of the Church (Tradition). The Lord gives us these gifts as springboards for welcoming salvation, his Life – which is called grace – into our lives. When God’s Life has an open route in and through our hearts, we are united to him (think Holy Communion). But when we choose illegitimate means to fill a need (serious sin), the open route in our hearts for grace is cut off – it becomes much more difficult to know what God wants, we no longer see clearly what is right and what is wrong; and even if we do, we have less strength to choose the good. He is still with us, but we are not with him. Communion is restored through the spiritual re-construction of confessing our sin and receiving his forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These are the most necessary and basic means to a personal relationship with the Lord, but what many people don’t realize is that these are not stagnant “rules,” but conduits to a deep spring of living water!
The Life of God in us is the greatest treasure we have – if we knew it for what it is, we would guard it with our earthly lives, and that’s what the saints (especially the martyrs) do. The more conscious we become of the presence of God, the more easily we enter into prayer and come to know his protective, providential and healing hand in our daily lives. “Prayer is an encounter of God’s thirst with ours.” (CCC #2560) Prayer is intimate conversation with God, a mutual sharing Heart to heart. It’s a conversation he has already begun; hearing his gentle voice is only a matter of attentiveness, a willingness to clear a space for silence in our all-too- often overcrowded days, and the obedience of faith.
The Father is reaching out to each of us, constantly trying to remind us of his love and mercy, of his desire for our good and his willingness to show us the way through the obstacle course of life. It may come through the beauty of nature, the smile of those we love, the little inspirations that come to mind. It may come from a word or passage that leaps from a page of Scripture. It may be a thought that pierces our heart, encouraging us, confirming us. It may be an experience before his Eucharistic presence that swells our hearts and tells us what we all, in the end, long to hear: “I love you.” Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.
Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Fall 2009.