Skip to main content

“We want God! We want God!”

The chants thundered towards heaven as the Polish people responded from the depths of their hearts to the white-haired priest who stood before them. Though nearly denied a visit to his native land, Pope John Paul II would not allow the evil of communism to have the final say. As he celebrated Mass on the Vigil of Pentecost in 1979, before a crowd of 270,000 at Victory Square, Warsaw, he reminded his people and all humanity that “man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ. He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is. He cannot understand any of this without Christ. Therefore, Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe … The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man … And the history of each person unfolds in Jesus Christ. In Him it becomes the history of salvation.”

The human heart wants God. We, consciously or not, seek Him in everything — in our fashions, our food, our relationships, even our sins. As Bruce Marshall once wrote, “… the young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” But in a culture that seems to have an answer for everything, we can easily become victims to the loudest voices and the most compelling propositions of who others say God is. We can be tempted to reduce God to our own experience and projections, often the result of pain, failure, and suffering. But God does not leave it up to us to determine who He is. God is not the sum of what we think or say, nor the result of our ideas or our findings. God is Being. He is Love — a mystery of love who reveals His face and His desire for us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. God wants your heart. He, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Eternal Word through whom everything was made, chose to enter into time and space in the womb of the Virgin Mary, because He wants you. Jesus is not a neutral party — He is madly in love with you, and His love demands a response. He “would have us either worship Him or despise Him — despise Him as a mere man, or worship Him as true God and true man” (Venerable Fulton Sheen). Jesus — one divine Person with two natures, divine and human — is an actual scandal to many modern religions, who cannot imagine God making Himself vulnerable. But what does the Incarnation show? Not that God is weak, but He is so much greater and so much closer than we could ever imagine! His love is larger, His mercy is bigger, His kindness is more. Jesus turns history upside down by coming Himself “to seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10). In Him, God has a name and a face – for you.

He chose to experience all that you experience, except sin. Jesus knew laughter and sorrow, friendship and betrayal, affirmation and rejection, hunger and fullness. He experienced every human emotion — sadness, anger, joy, etc. — perfectly and more intensely than we ever could. He knew what it was to be tempted and what it took to overcome temptation. He chose to endure all the misfortunes of life, even death itself, in order that nothing would be outside His redeeming mercy and love. He came to find us, and to bring us home to the Father’s heart. He asks us to trust His saving power, to allow Him to love us, to let Him save us. For it is only in Him that we come to know who we truly are. May we have the courage to raise our minds and hearts towards Him who is seeking us.

May we boldly receive the mystery of this God of ours who has a face and a name, and who, lifted high on the Cross, arms stretched wide, answers the ache of our hearts by becoming the very bridge from this life unto eternity.

Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Spring 2022.