I stood in the grocery line and wondered why the cashier was ignoring the customer…
“I don’t hear Jesus. I ask Him questions and I just get silence. What am I doing wrong?”
“Everyone else hears Him, there must be something wrong with me.”
“He doesn’t talk to me the way He talks to you. I must be doing it wrong.”
I hear women say things like this frequently and I felt compelled to say aloud (write aloud!) and emphatically: You are not doing it wrong!
If there is anything “wrong,” it is that we tend to think WAY too small when thinking about God. God, Who is without limits, will forever escape the power of our minds and our words. He is uncontainable. Indescribable. He cannot be confined to or defined by human linguistics or constructs.
Take, for example, the human construct of how a conversation goes: I say abc and you respond xyz. Since we cannot confine our God to these limited parameters, when conversation with Him doesn’t happen in that prescribed way, we should not presume that we are doing something wrong or that Jesus is not interested in conversing with us today.
Rather, let us seek to be in relationship with God, to “converse” with Him, according to His constructs.
“Even though God forever escapes our understanding, He shapes Himself to the dimension of our souls… Our souls are fitted exactly to Him. Through His generous grace our souls become able to embrace the whole of Him. For God has given us, angels and humankind, two great powers – a power to know, and a power to love. God, who is our Maker, forever escapes our power to know. But He is forever accessible to our power to love.” – The Cloud of Unknowing
We cannot truly “know” God, in the intellectual sense of the word. We can gain knowledge about God. Surely, the scriptures, the writings of the Saints, and, in a particular way, the Sacraments, reveal God to us. We learn of His character and have personal encounters with His characteristics, for example, His kindness or His mercy. But like the old parable* of the blind men wanting to know the creature called “elephant,” our limited faculties will not allow us to have a complete understanding of God. That glorious reality awaits us in Heaven.
And while here on earth, it is our power to love, not our power to know, that allows us to discover God. What a radical departure from the way we typically approach learning and understanding! God is a mystery to be continually encountered! He invites us to step beyond our self-reliant ways of knowing and allow Him to take the lead by revealing Himself to us through the bond of love – in the way He desires at the time He chooses.
I know some of you are thinking, well this sounds beautiful, but what do I do? How about this: allow for a time of meditation each day – even if it’s just 5-minutes – where you do not read or begin with a particular prayer. Simply sit down, close your eyes and take 2-3 slow breaths in and out. Perhaps you open your hands, turning your palms upward. You may say, “Here I am Lord, love me. I love You.” Breathe deeply, in and out. Again, “I love you, Lord. Love me.”
That’s it; just offer Him your love, and invite Him to love you. And then be still and rest in His loving presence for a few minutes. It matters not whether you feel anything or see an image or hear a word. God is present. Allow yourself to be enveloped in the incomprehensible Mystery that is God.
A Closing Prayer
Lord, I want to stop trying to get my relationship with You “right;” to stop striving to say the right prayers or attend the right number of events, so that I might know You more. This knowing about You is good, but it is not the “greater part.”
Oh Lord, help me to quiet my ever-thinking mind and to reach for You through my love alone. Grant me the grace of interior recollection. Teach me to open myself to You – the inner crevasses and secret nooks in my inmost being. Those hidden places where only love can go. I’ll meet You there. Amen.
* You can find the parable of the blind men and the elephant here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant)
Copyright 2023, De Yarrison