Monday, May 30, 2011

Steps on the Path

I came across some statistical information today that gave me reason for hope. It seems that about 60% of Americans believe in a personal God, with whom it is possible to have some kind of relationship. Another survey reported that 58% of Americans pray every day.

Surveys, of course, leave many questions unanswered. What kind of God? What kind of prayer? How many of the remaining 42% are crying out to God without realizing it?

Still, I am encouraged by the 60%. We live immersed in a noisy popular culture in which emphasis on the presence of God and the need for prayer is ZERO. Evidently, God still makes His presence known and provokes the human heart with the awareness of the need for Him. Even if this awareness is superficial or fleeting in many cases, it still gives me hope.

I expect that anyone who happens upon this blogsite and gives it any attention probably believes in God, or at least wonders about the mystery of God. Of course, most of my readers are already in "the choir"--I am not naive. But I also have friends who are not Catholic or not Christian--friends who don't agree or don't know what to make of the things I say here, but who read nevertheless because they care about me. And perhaps because they find things that they can appreciate in these writings, or things that strike them as worthy of looking at. They know who they are, and they know that I love them. I ask them to stay with me as I reflect on this adventure of being human in a world that I know is not easy to understand.

Moreover, this is the internet. Anyone may come across what I write here. I do not sing for the choir; I sing about who I am, what has been given to me, and what I have discovered about the truth. Everything I say is a testimony--offered with respect for freedom, openness, and awareness of the particularities and burdens of each person's journey in search of the truth. I invite people to walk with me. Let us look at life together and try to help each other.

If you are among those who wonder, even once in a while, what the mystery of reality is all about, then there is something in you that yearns to go deeper. Ask from out of that wonder; ask the questions that it suggests, and ask them with a confidence that that they would not be in your heart if the answers did not exist.

If you believe in a personal God, pray to Him as Someone who is present. You do not give yourself existence. He is making you to "be" right now. He is present, giving you to yourself. Call to mind that Presence.

And why does He make you? For love. Why else? Isn't this what our hearts tell us? That we are loved, and are made to love? So take small steps in love; find a little time to affirm something or someone not for your own advantage, but because of the goodness that makes you forget yourself. Such love leads to God.

This is not some "generic religion" that I am proposing here. Everyone who reads this blog knows that my faith is very specific. These are merely steps on the path of truth. They are steps that Christians sometimes forget to make. I know very well that plenty of Catholics and Christians are messed up and confused.

But it's always possible to take a step forward on the road that leads to the answers you seek, and the joy for which you hope.