Wednesday the 6th Week of Easter
Acts 17: 15, 22-18:1., John 16:12-15
“As I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed: To an Unknown God.” This comment made me think about the present-day phenomenon of people identifying themselves as spiritual but not religious. Like the Athenians, they are looking for something, but don’t have a name for it. This drive to find a higher power echoes a famous passage from St. Augustine’s Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Even though some people have drifted from organized religion, something inside them keeps drawing them to find this unnamable thing just beyond their grasp. This search for the “unknown” is at the core of the human heart.
The council fathers, addressing the longings of the human heart wrote: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium Et Spes, #22). We will never search alone because He who is the image of the invisible God (CF. Col. 1:15) has entered into our world to be our guide to the Father.
Because God’s love for us addresses the deepest longings of our hearts it surpasses anything we can hope or imagine. Is it any wonder that some people find formal religion a hindrance to their encounter with the living God? Because God is infinite, should we be surprised that we have difficulty putting our experience into words? Indeed, he is the “Unknown God”. St. Paul was on to something when he wrote: “We see things imperfectly, like blurred images in a mirror, but someday we will see everything with perfect clarity. Now all that we know is partial and incomplete, but someday we will know everything completely, just as God knows us” (1 Cor. 13:12). By God’s grace we shall move from glory to glory (CF 2 Cor 3:18), from unknowing to being fully known.
As we journey through life, we will discover who we are. In the silent moments, we hear that small gentle voice calling us by name. When we respond to it, we will discover the One in whom we live and move and have our being. We will discover the Unknown God who cannot be defined, confined, or controlled. He stands above us and orders all our days. He sustains us throughout our life’s journey and is closer to us than we are to ourselves. God is the Ground of Being. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and refuses to be reduced to an object of our making. The Master of the Universe dwelt among us in the flesh. Even though we may not know how to name Him, He constantly calls us by name. We need to listen for his voice with the ears of our hearts.
“Oh! That I might repose on You! Oh! That You would enter into my heart, and inebriate me, that I may forget my ills, and embrace You, my sole good! What are You to me? In Your pity, teach me to utter it… tell me, O Lord my God, what You are for me. Speak, that I may hear. Behold, Lord, my heart is before You. Say to my soul, I am thy salvation. Let me run after and cling to You” (Confessions, chapter V).
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