Finding A Way


It occurred to me in the middle of reading Father Dubay's very fine Prayer Primer that I was once again on the wrong track. One of my tendencies is to derail so easily. Once again I was in my head looking for God. And He is there, as surely and as fully as He is anywhere. But it is harder for me to find Him in my head because there are so many distractions there.

Back to the heart. I am driven time and again away from the intellectual pursuit of God and back to the understanding that God is found through love. I do understand that you cannot love what you do not know. However, I also understand that if something becomes the object of study, the love you have for it is not the object itself, but the intellectual satisfaction of studying the object. That is where I often wind up when I pursue the path of the mind toward God. I do love Him, and it is a good thing, but what I really Love is the pursuit of knowledge of Him--not really Him at all.

God granted me the privilege of being a father so I could further learn to love without intellectualizing. I do love my wife in this way, but I needed to expand my repetoire. I needed to love someone who starts out utterly dependent and who grows into his own person. I needed to learn to love someone as a Father loves a Son, so that I could understand the family of the Trinity--not in the theoretical precision of love and procession, but in the intimate details of how a Father gives his whole heart to His Son, so at the merest slight the Father's heart aches and sorrows.

This is the purpose of all the mundane details of life. All of the things we are reluctant to share because they are too trivial. It is in this trivial realm that we become the real people that we are. Everything else is, to some extent, patina and pantomime--mere surface and sensation.

We become Holy by learning to love through all the lessons of life, difficult and easy. We do not learn this from a book or from study, although both of these things are very helpful along the path. We learn more from a Saint's life and actions, I believe, than we do from a Saint's words. Because as good as those words may be, they cannot convey the fullness of the experience of God in the way a Saint's life does. There is something about a life that allows no mask of misunderstanding to intrude and override. We do not need to interpret through the muddle of words, but are confronted with direct action.

Now, I also know that the inspiration of each person comes from different directions but always from the same source. So, while I say that I am more inspired by a life, others might be more inspired by writings, or a word, or some other aspect of encounter with God's grandeur. The important point is to know and to understand where you best meet Christ and to go there often, wherever it may be. If you find Him in the writing of Dorothy Day, then it would be well to spend time with the writing of Dorothy Day. If you find Him in great art and literature and music, so be it. Most importantly, be very honest about where you really encounter God. No matter how much I love literature, words, music, and art, it is in my interaction with my precious wife and son that I am made most aware of God's guiding hand. It is in the small kernel of the loving family that I become aware of what I am called to and God gives me the strength to answer the calling. Sometimes inspiration springs from other quarters but love stands naked and needy at the heart of the family, and it is there I am most likely to see Him, embrace Him, and welcome Him. It is in the detail of daily life that I become most aware of the action of God.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 16, 2003 7:42 AM.

A Complete Boswell-Life of John Vols 1-3 of 6 was the previous entry in this blog.

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