For Francis (St Francis of Assisi) religion was not a thing like a theory but a thing like a love affair.
– G.K. Chesterton
Love God, know God, obey God, serve God and one another. This is the sum of Christian theology. It seems most common that those coming into the faith rarely do so because they were first intellectually convinced. It is most commonly that they had some experience that led them to love God and then they found themselves desiring to know God. Something draws the soul to God and the the relationship must be built from there.
Our relationship with God is in many ways like any other relationship. It takes time, effort and understanding to develop the deep and satisfying relationship with God that we desire. There will be times, as there are in any relationship, where you are more or less on autopilot. And there may even be times where you are separated from God or where communication is difficult but the relationship goes on and reunion is perfect and beautiful.
Here are a few of the ways in which we met God allow us to more fully know Him.
Nature, Art, Music and Beauty The beauty of the creator is reflected in creation. Music and Art that stirs the soul and lifts our thoughts to God. God whispers His love to us in the beauty of every face around us. Each little flower, each blade of grass act in a symphony of life that hums constantly with the joy of being. If we take the time to savor life we see God in the world around us.
Prayer There are so many kinds of prayer. Each person has their own favored ways of praying. Communal prayer, meditative prayer, Rosaries, Chaplets, Psalms the list could go on and on and I would undoubtedly miss something. Speak to God and spend some prayer time listening.
Scriptures The scriptures are God’s gift to us in them we learn about God’s teaching and commandments, His nature and His earthly life. We see the example of those who served God before us. I always find it rather funny when someone has the impression that Catholics do not use the Bible. We do, every single mass has multiple readings from scripture. We use Scripture to learn about and to draw closer to God.
Catechism Whenever there is a question about what the Church teaches I go to the catechism. Our Catechism is a rich resource containing the wisdom and teachings of 2000 years distilled into a rather manageable text. By learning the catechism we learn about God, his lover for us and the commandments He would have us live.
The Sacraments Any of the sacraments bring us closer to God. Our Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Confession – they all draw us closer to God and allow us to know him more fully. There is such love an peace contained in the Eucharist. The reception of the Eucharist, Eucharistic adoration and confession bring us close to God in very special ways. They heal us from our self-inflicted wounds and allow us to glimpse the reality that love is sacrifice.
Writings of the Saints and others Reading the writings of Christians who have come before us and reading about their lives bring us closer to God in a special way. Sort of like family get togethers where we all share stories about our love ones. We learn more about God by learning how others have experienced His love.
The Lives of Others We all shine like the sun to God. By recognising the beauty and humanity in the lives of others we learn a great deal about the nature of God and what it means to be Christian. We are not supposed to start out perfect, we are perfected in Christ.
Our Service to Others “It is in giving that we receive”. When we act on Christ’s behalf for others we see Christ more clearly and allow His glory to shine through us into the lives of others.