Monday, October 6, 2014

The Mystery of God
Each Sunday, Catholics around the world profess faith in a God who is higher than the highest height, and yet closer than my inmost self: "I believe in one God..."  This initial and most fundamental affirmation of the Christian faith immerses us in the Mystery of God. 

But our God is not a puzzle which we need to solve, or a logarithm which we must comprehend.  Rather, our God is a Person with whom we enter into relationship.  Indeed, St. Paul speaks of God as the One in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).  We always already exist in relation to the Mystery of God, so the question for each of us becomes how we might grow in awareness of and openness to this living Presence.

But who is our God, and what are the implications of believing in him?

Our God is neither identical with his creation nor separate from it; our God is not an abstract or anonymous Power which kicked creation down the proverbial hill and then retreated to watch the show from a distance.  Rather, our God reveals his very name--"I AM" (Ex 3:15)--in order to assure us that He is not just one being among many.  Our God IS the very act of existence itself. 

Moreover, our God paradoxically reveals his Oneness as a Communion of Persons--Father, Son, and Spirit.  This Triune God is essentially relational and so desires a personal relationship with each of his creatures; all we have to do is profess, "I believe..."  Our God promises those who love him the gift of the Spirit of Truth, who "remains with you , and will be in you" (Jn 14:17).  Indeed, our God invites us to accept the fact that "you are in me and I am in you" (Jn 14:20).

Our God joins himself to the human race in and through his Son.  Thus, we are able to know that "God is Light, and in him there is no darkness at all" (1 Jn 1:5), as well as that "God is Love" (1 Jn 4:8).  He even asks us to address him as "Abba," or Father, in the most intimate of ways (Lk 11:2).

So what would it mean if we really wanted to take our God seriously?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church sketches five "Implications of Faith in One God" (nn. 222-227):
  1. It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty.
  2. It means living in thanksgiving.
  3. It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men.
  4. It means making good use of created things.
  5. It means trusting in God in every circumstance.
If we dare to let God be God, and start to see God as God, then we will begin to realize that all light is a reflection of his Light.  All love is a participation in his Love.  All truth and goodness and beauty ultimately lead to his Truth and Goodness and Beauty. 

The implications are simple and straightforward, yet meaningful and mysterious indeed!