Friday, March 5, 2010

Seeking God, Part Five

Seeking God, Part Five
A Reflection for the Lenten Season of 2010
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD, Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
This series of reflections has been titled SEEKING GOD so I have decided that we really need to determine exactly what seeking means and how one goes about it and what it entails.
According to the Dictionary Seeking is both a transitive verb and an intransitive verb and it means; "1. To go to, to resort to, 2. go in search of, look for, try to discover, 3. To ask for or request or seek advice, 4. To try to acquire or gain, aim for 5. To make an attempt or try, as an intransitive verb it means to make a search or an inquiry.
When the object of the search is God, I would have to say that all the definitions are usable and correct.
Now the question arrives as to how you want to search and how important your search is to you and how much time and effort do you want to put into your search.
I don't know about you, but when we are talking about finding God and our relationship with God and the end result is everlasting life or damnation, I would say such a search might just be the most important one any human has ever endeavored upon.
Now every major search and discovery comes with setbacks, dangers, moments of elations and moments of depression.  A search for God will only have those things multiplied to a greater extent because there is one nemesis, Satan, who will do everything in its power from you finding God and gaining God in your life.
That is why I find the book of Job to be my inspiration.  As mentioned in an earlier segment, Job never gave in and had faith and trust in God and even after he lost everything, family, health, wealth he continued to place his faith in God for which he was rewarded 10 fold.
When a person really decides to seek God and claim God as the center of their life, they will certainly be ridiculed and probably be looked upon as a fanatic.  They may well loose family and friends who think that God is not as important as gaining fame, wealth, or other material things.
Seeking God, like prayer, which we discussed in section, four of this series, must be taken seriously and requires you to work on your search every day of your life from the moment you decide to go on your quest.
All quests are journeys toward a set goal. All Quests require great exertion on the part of the hero and the overcoming of many obstacles.  A hero's initial response may be a rejection of that return, as J. Campbell describes in THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES
My favorite stories of Quests are Le Morte de Arthur, Don Quixote, The Lord of The Rings, The Wizard of Oz, and the movie  series featuring Indiana Jones and his quests.
Therefore, our search for God, if we actually embark on it seriously, will have obstacles to overcome and disappointments and even possibly rejection by family and friends but if we find God, the rewards are greater than any earthly treasure.
As Matthew 6:19-21 tells us "Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." and in Luke 12-21 we read; "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
In Luke 11:19 Christ is said to have told his disciples; "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." In one of the more famous "Gnostic" Gospels the Coptic Gospel of Thomas which is just a transcript of the secret sayings of Jesus to his apostles. The first saying is; "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death" The second saying I found to be so much like that of Luke 11:19 and it is this; "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.  When he finds he will become troubled.  When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and he will rule over all"
Throughout the Coptic Gospel of Thomas one cannot but notice that many of the sayings are exactly like or similar to the sayings of Christ found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Saying 3 in the Gospel of Thomas has the following " Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.  When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."
I believe that "Living in poverty and you are in poverty" simply means that until we get to know God and find God within ourselves we will always feel an emptiness within ourselves.
In chapter four of Peace of the Soul by Fulton J Sheen entitled IS GOD HARD TO FIND? There is a quote from the poet Francis Thompson which was based on an idea put forth by Saint Thomas Aquinas and it goes like this;
O world invisible, we view thee
O world intangible, we touch thee
O world unknowable, we know thee
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee.
To which Fulton Sheen follows up with these words; "God is easy to discover in at least a confused and primitive sort of way through every striving and aspiration of our will and our heart" "God is not hard to find, because He gives himself to us as the Divine Gift. Natural life itself is a gift.  The soul has to come into the body from without, directly as a gift from the hands of God"
Throughout all of human existence the human race, according to historians and archeologists has sought and worshiped a higher power which they often ascribed the title God. Many people have had things to say and relate about God, here are just a few I found worth pondering in our seeking God Quest.
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." ~Mother Teresa
"Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God." ~Diana Robinson
"Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway." ~Mary C. Crowley
"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us." ~St. Augustine
"They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse." ~Emily Dickinson
"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God." ~Eleanor Powell
"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed." ~Saint Augustine
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't." ~Jules Renard
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
"The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too." ~Teresa of Avila
"But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things." ~Vincent van Gogh,
"People see God every day, they just don't recognize him." ~Pearl Bailey
"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."  ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"When we can't piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together." ~Amethyst Snow-Rivers
"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." ~Garth Brooks
"God enters by a private door into each individual." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God."  ~St. Augustine
And one that I find so very, very true and worth thinking about; "Don't look for God where He is needed most; if you didn't bring Him there, He isn't there."  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
In the Sixth and final ( sort of but not really because I will continue to try to guide and lead and inspire those who read my humble simple reflections to find God and to know his infinite love and mercy) installment of this series on Seeking God I will attempt to sum up all that I have  written over the last week and hopefully have inspired you to look deeper within yourselves and the universe created by a power much greater than any human in your quest for finding and securing God in your life and then reflecting God to all those you encounter.    AMEN

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