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May 28, 2014     

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Our Deepest Relationship Is with God

by Friar Jim Van Vurst, O.F.M.

Last month, I wrote about the deeply felt experience we can have with one another. Given that we are created in God’s own image and likeness, it is not an exaggeration to say that these human relationships are God-like. This month, I want to reflect the ultimate basis for those relationships: our relationship with God and God’s relationship with us.

Each one of us is embraced with God’s love. This union is not dependent on whether we worship God or even know God exists. Every person’s life, from the moment of conception, is itself a sharing in God’s existence. Even though a newborn infant can’t be conscious of a mother’s presence, we know the mother is present to her infant very consciously.

We were made to be in a conscious and personal relationship with God. We who are blessed with knowing of God are called to a personal relationship with the Creator. Some relationships are based on fear—even terror. Our relationship with God is the opposite because it is based on love. The key word is personal. For example, an atheist who is interested in comparative religions can know more about the concept of God than 99 percent of ordinary believers, nevertheless, as a professed atheist, he won’t have a personal relationship with God given his intellectual stance. But his disbelief in no way removes God’s love and desire for him.

Can We Talk?

Our personal relationship with God is based on who we are as people. What is startling is that while we cannot reach out and embrace God with our arms, we can do just that with our hearts. Our physical size is of no importance here because love is based in the human soul. Isn’t it true that a smile from an infant gazing at the face of her mother totally transforms the mother in ways she could not describe?

In our personal relationship with God, all we need to do is act as we do with one another. The elements of that are the essence of our relationship with God. Many confuse a relationship with feeling a kind of closeness. Often it is not felt or sensed in that way. A relationship may include emotions, but they are definitely not the essence of it. Rather, it is with our hearts that we embrace the Lord. And in that relationship, we speak with God as we would with anyone else.

There is no special language or grammar. We speak as we always do. We remind ourselves that God is not “somewhere up there,” but within us so that we don’t have to find God. We must look within. God is the one who shares everything in our lives with us—good and bad. We hold nothing back. God can handle it all with no trouble. In fact, God embraces us no matter where we are in life.

What’s a simple way of coming to the Lord, you might ask? Simply say in your heart, Here I am, Lord. We need to talk.

Friar Jeremy's Inbox

Readers respond to Friar Jeremy Harrington's May E-spiration, Musing: Breathing with Two Lungs

Dear Friar Jeremy: Thank you, Friar Jeremy, for this wonderful message. I learned so much, and I loved this homily. Thank you for making it all clear and understandable for me. Mary Ann

Dear Friar Jeremy:
Thank you for your E-spiration. It is very lucid! Father Max

Dear Friar Jeremy: Again and again, thank you for the gift of these E-spirations. They are always so appreciated. God bless all that you do! Steve

Dear Mary Ann, Father Max, and Steve: Thanks for reading my most recent E-spiration and for your feedback. I know you agree that it is enriching for us to be aware and embrace all of our sisters and brothers in Christ. We’ll be watching Pope Francis on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I hope you have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage there. Peace and thanks! Friar Jeremy

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