Warming up my car, getting ready for 7 AM mass, I flicked on the radio. Hearing something about football, which was unacceptable, I flicked it off again. “I should pray,” I thought. . Now I had been awake for hours. I had checked the weather on the computer so I’d know what to wear. Checked my e-mail. Made my bed. Had egg and coffee for breakfast. Washed my dishes. Got dressed. Not a word to God.

“I’m sorry, God,” I said. “You know, I’d talk to you more if you were more interactive.” I imagined God talking back. “What would you want me to say?” he asks. I looked at the dawnlight in the eastern sky. The bare trees against the morning glow. I think of Joyce Kilmer saying “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Now I’ve never thought of Kilmer as a major poet, rather more in the Longfellow category. There is no wondering about what his poems mean. Every line is crystal clear. And they rhyme. Who rhymes nowadays?

Yes, Joyce, the trees remind you and me of God. The dawn sky is beautiful. I, among others, have long appreciated the beauty of the earth. And the universe. And the universe within the smallest cell of my body. The wonder of DNA, that tiny speck that directs the growth and development of a human being, or a sweet pea, or a rattlesnake, each with its own specific directions. There is no way, in my opinion, that this could have happened by accident. I find God in his creation.

I have never had a dialogue with Jesus. Like Sister Faustina did when Jesus told her to have a painting made depicting his mercy. Or like Catherine of Siena who seems to have seen Jesus every other day! Or like Gordon Robertson, host of the 700 Club, who met Jesus in India. Or Mother Teresa who talked with Jesus on a train ride when he told her to leave her convent and go out in the streets of Calcutta and pick up sick and dying people. She proceeded with what she called “the work” and never heard from him again for about 50 years. Apparently she had experienced enough to sustain her. Mother Teresa was not a stupid woman. The fruit of her work was obvious. She knew the world was calling her a saint. She got the Peace Prize and dined with heads of state. She would have liked to experience the presence of God, even wrote in her letters that her heart felt like a stone, but she had more to offer God when she continued in her calling without sensible consolation, sustained by faith alone.

Remember the rich man in Gehenna who saw Lazarus happy in the bosom of Abraham? He asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to tell his five brothers how to avoid similar suffering. Abraham said “they have the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets; let them be mindful of these, and they will enter paradise” In other words, they already had enough information and more input really wasn’t going to change anything. I can imagine God saying to me: “You have heard about me all your life. Your faith is growing–slowly, yes, but growing. Do you really need signs and wonders and so-called “interaction”?

Once, years ago, having heard about Fatima, I started to say a rosary every night. One such night during the Lord’s prayer, the words “Thy will be done,” seemed to come alive and for the first time I said it as if I
meant it. I was flooded with a feeling that I immediately identified as sweetness–as in “Taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” I knew only two things–that I was experiencing an indescribable sweetness and that I wanted it to continue. It didn’t. It left and never returned. My first reaction to this extraordinary feeling was to look in the mirror to see if I might glow. No such luck. Thinking this might qualify as a religious experience, I read William James’ book, The Varieties of Religious Experience. What I gleaned from James was that such experiences tend to occur when a shift is made from wanting to do things “my way” to wanting to do things “God’s way.” They involve a self-surrender.

But that experience showed me that we have no idea what unfulfilled capacities we may have beyond appreciating the sweetness of the Lord! How about his beauty, his goodness, his mercy, his peace, his love………. What must it be like to experience all these at once?

Once I heard a voice out of thin air saying “My people, I love you. Do not be afraid.” Another time the words “Repent, the Lord is nigh” just dropped into my head. That same morning at mass the scripture reading said “Reform your lives. The kingdom of God is at hand, ” which seemed to be a confirmation of the message I had received. If that was God speaking, these are the sum total of his words to me.

Really, what else do I need to know besides these few words? I was told that God is near, he loves me, and I do not need to be afraid. It seems to me that those few words are enough for a lifetime. And if God wants to speak again, he knows how to get through to me. Not to worry.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) “For now we see through a glass, darkly…” (1 Cor. 13:12) I think God knows exactly what we all need and when. Each person has a different faith walk. Each person has different glimpses, tastes, intimations of God that speak to his own particular heart. Sometimes I think God leads me when I write. Oftentimes I know an article I’m working on is not done and needs a “clincher” It’s surprising how often the desired words will come at morning mass.

Whenever I find the idea of God just too awesome to deal with, what with his counting the sparrows that fall, and the hairs on my head, making universes, and processing all the prayers of billions of people, I just tell myself that God’s other name is Love. God has written in his book and shown by sending his beloved Son that he is Love Personified. Love is something I can believe in with all my heart because I have felt it and know its power. We all know how Love acts from 1Corinthians 13. Read that chapter in your Bible once more, this time not thinking that this is how you are supposed to love others, but thinking that’s how God loves you! Or look at a crucifix.

God invites us to invite him in. Seek and ye shall find the one for whom your heart yearns–in his way and in his time.