Encountering God's Presence
“ I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.” Pope Francis: EVANGELII GAUDIUM
June's Focus: Encountering God's Presence through Ordinary Things
Five Places to Find God
Many of us fall into trap of thinking the only place to find God is at church. If we’re not expecting to find God everywhere, we might just miss great opportunities for help, healing, and spiritual growth. Here are five places where God awaits you:
At Work: The relationships you have, the results you achieve, the quality and mindfulness with which you do your work can all be the stuff of holiness. Each day we at work we get opportunities to learn more about ourselves and to contribute our gifts to the good of the world.
In Difficult Relationships: It’s easy to love other people when everything’s going well. But when there are hurt feelings, mistrust, or clashing wills, relationships don’t feel very much as though they are of God. Yet it is at just those times, that we can witness the movement of God in our lives, leading us to healing, trust, and cooperation.
In Our Failings: We all like to be heroes. But it’s a given that each of us will fail in our lives. Nevertheless, when we hit our limits or even when we sin, we can turn to God for acceptance, mercy, and the strength to make amends and sin no more.
In Loneliness: Rather than trying to fill the emptiness with mindless entertainment or indulging our cravings, sit still and find God in the emptiness. It takes patience, courage and humility, but you will hear the “still small voice” of God in the midst of your emptiness responding to your loneliness and restlessness with the only love that fully satisfies.
In Pleasure: Many people seem to think that if something’s fun, it must be at least partially wrong. Yet God gives us the world to live in and enjoy. Therefore, pleasure is a place to meet God, whether it be the pleasure of nature, of playing, of loving one another, of beauty, or of the occasional overwhelming conviction that we are loved by God. (Loyola Press)
Important events in scripture occurred during some of the most ordinary times…
- The anointing of David took place while he was carrying out his duty of shepherding sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11)
- Jesus called many of His disciples on an average, ordinary day while they were on-duty at their job. (Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 9:9)
- God spoke powerfully to Moses through a burning bush while he was out tending to his father-in-law’s flock. (Exodus 3:1-6)
Ways to encounter God through Ordinary Things
- When we get up in the morning, we stretch and remember God stretches back to us, extending His grace to us
- Or as we wash we remember the blessing of being made clean, of being forgiven.
- As we dress we give thanks that we have been robed in righteousness and remember that overall we must wear love.
- We hug those we love knowing that God, our Father leans down to hug us.
- We stand listening to the lunchtime news and let the rising steam from the kettle be our prayers for the world.
- We light the fire and ask God to use the heat of all we feel passionately about to build His kingdom here on earth.
- We hold our coffee mug in our cupped hands like a chalice and we lift up to God all that our human lives are full of.
Resources and practical suggestions for Encountering God in Ordinary Things
- Encountering Truth: Meeting God In the Everyday by Pope Francis
- God Moments: Unexpected Encounters in the Ordinary by Andy Otto
- Finding God in the Everyday by Lillie Amman
- The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence