Frightening Steps to Loving God


1. God is simple.

St. Thomas Aquinas "discovered" this and the Church teaches this (so far as I can tell.) God is simple. He is not made up of parts. He is one complete unity--one cannot take away a "part" of God. As such God has separable attributes--no qualities apart from Who He is. That is God's will is God, God's love is God, God's mercy is God, God's justice is God. He is at once all of these things and these things are at once all the same in God because God is simple. People make distinctions between these things because humanity is not simple--there are component parts. (By the way, don't ask me how this is true, I haven't a clue. But I do understand that it is true, and I am trying to piece out the implications of this solid and confusing truth.)

2. Loving God Means Loving God's Will
As pointed out above, God's will is His being. God is God's will and at the same time God's love, justice, mercy, patience, power, etc. But in the very real sense God is God's will--they are not separable. Thus, truly loving God means loving God's will. Loving God's will is more than saying , "Thy will be done/on Earth as it is in heaven." We must also seek to do it. When we do God's will, because His Will is Himself, we incorporate ourselves into God in a substantive way that in unmatchable. This is one of the reasons why Jesus tells us, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." His commandments are an expression of the will of God. To love God, we must love His will.

3. Loving God's Will Means Loving My Life

Things get even more frightening. Loving God's will means loving my life, here, now, as it is. That is not to say that we must be fatalistic and accept as inevitable our present circumstances. It does not mean we cannot hope and work for better. But unless and until things do get better, our present circumstances are, for whatever reason, God's present will for us. To love God means to love his will. To love His will means to rejoice in our present circumstances even as we look forward to even better circumstances. We can rejoice in who and what we are and what we have here and now and still hope for a better life. Indeed, the whole Christian vision is reaching for that better life here and now.

The most important part of prayer is loving God. But loving God comes with knowing God and we can know God (in part) by knowing ourselves and our present circumstances because they are manifestations of God's will. Loving our lives as they have been presented to us, as gift and gift alone, is a step toward knowing God intimately. It is a frightening step because it means I must see and accept my present limitations, circumstances, and conditions as God's abiding and loving will for me here an now.

I suppose for some this is not nearly so difficult a prospect as it may be for others. As one who is always looking forward to better times, it is a difficult first step. However, the necessity of this step follows from the logic and beauty of God's simplicity. I need to learn to embrace that simplicity in all of its apparent contradictions--love, will, mercy, justice, compassion, authority--everything that is God and makes up God, not as constituent parts but as a gestalt from which we derive our impression of these virtues and strengths.

Loving God is as simple as coming to know who we really are and always seeking to find what God has in store for us.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 19, 2006 8:45 AM.

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