At one time, I was arrogantly dismissive of AA’s “God of my understanding.” Now, I honestly regret that perspective; and, I realize that everyone believes in, questions the existence of, or outright rejects the “God of (that person’s) understanding.”
God is or God isn’t.
Late in his Papacy, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at an airport in Germany. During that liturgy, he said something that I found quite remarkable. According to the Holy Father, agnostics who are genuinely seeking an answer to the question of God’s existence are “closer to the kingdom of God than believers whose life of faith is routine.”
There is intrinsic value in the search!
If one sees the suffering and anguish of the world and questions the existence of a good God, that is a noble act!
If one sees pride and judgment in “the faithful” yet struggles to hope in God, that is heroic!
If one was raised with a crippling, legalistic faith and felt doomed to fail before a punitive God, and if that person walks away discouraged, that is tragic… and understandable!
If God is, then there is an objective reality of God… the great I AM.
The human mind cannot grasp the entirety of I AM, which is why the holy search remains ever fruitful and exhilarating.
I believe that one’s understanding of God is intended to evolve and deepen as he/she continues to search. And in the midst of that process, which might rightly be called “the spiritual life,” it is often necessary to let go of the false gods — or, the false images of I AM — that one has held before. Sometimes, that letting go can be frightening, especially if one’s “faith” has been fear-based.
I believe that God is.
Today, I too profess that my faith is in the God of my (ever-deepening) understanding!
In my writing class, I let students choose their own topic for a research paper. Yesterday, a young woman came up to me after class and said, “I think I found a topic: God.” After picking myself up off the floor, I asked her why she chose that topic, and she said, “Because I’m agnostic, and want to know what God is.” I wonder: how many whose “life of faith is routine” would ask that question? I have high hopes for her!
Thank you, Mike! I wonder the same thing. And, I share your hope for this thoughtful young woman.
I have been enjoying your Musings Amid the Thorns blog. Please don’t stop. It is good and it is a gift.
I remember a long time ago when I spoke with her regarding how I pray all day long and you said that it was a “gift”. Maybe we don’t realize how many “gifts” God has given to us.
I looks back on my life and see how God has touched me through so many people. I realize now why God gives us wisdom as we grow older. I thank God for the wonderful people who introduced “Cursillo” to Bill and me, our lives have never been the same. I tell people all the time about you and Nina and how you are both “prophets” of the modern age. It is not a “term” from of “old” but a new term meaning “people with a gift who spread the word of God to others”. I wish I could jump on a table and sing “Praise God” to the tune of “Amazing Grace” for all to hear. How blessed we are for each moment, each breath, and each day and how good God is to us through it all.
My love to Marianne and your family. Stay well and take care of you, God’s most precious gift. Love & DeColores Doris
Doris, your note is so characteristically kind and loving. Thank you! I greatly appreciate your encouragement. Please pass along our best regards to Bill. I know that I say this every time we communicate, but Marianne and I really miss you guys.
Wishing you God’s own peace,
Thanks so much for a thought-provoking post. I love how you describe the search for faith. It has helped me as I continue my journey to God.
Blessings to you,
Thank you so much for visiting (and following). I’m truly delighted to have you aboard.
Wishing you God’s own peace,