I wrote a song a few years back, titled “From Where I Am.” The first verse starts like this: “I see glimpses of heaven, but still I fear. I know that you love me, but I resist when you draw near. It’s like I’m treading water in a stagnant place, afraid to receive all the love, all the grace you want for me.” The rest of the song catalogues all of the times I have felt so close to God, and times when I have felt apart from Him. Have you witnessed similar ebbs and flows in your spiritual life?
A friend once told me that if you feel you are apart from God, look around and see who moved away. Guaranteed, it wasn’t God – it was us. For whatever human reason we chose to separate ourselves from the one who loves us unconditionally. When this occurs, we simply have to turn around, walk back toward God, tell him we are sorry, and ask for forgiveness. God, our loving Father, greets us with open arms and welcomes us home.
That’s one of the gifts of Catholicism – the reconciliation we can share with our Father when we turn our back on Him through sin and self-centeredness. That’s part of the beauty of this Lenten Season. It is a time for us to acknowledge God in our life, to reconcile with Him and to return to His side. Its a great blessing, but it can also be scary.
Remember Jack Nicholson in the movie, “A Few Good Men,” when he is on the witness stand, being grilled by Tom Cruise’s character? When the grizzled marine (Nicholson) reaches his limit he shouts out to Cruise’s character “You can’t handle the truth!” Sometimes I feel that way about THE TRUTH (i.e., God). I want to be open to everything God wants of me but I’m human and can’t always handle it. My will to comply with God’s plan is challenged by pride, vanity, and other human feelings. I often need to witness a “glimpse of heaven” (the smile of a baby, an act of kindness by a friend, a beautiful sunrise) to remind myself of how close God is to me – if I let Him get close.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: If you want to see “glimpses of heaven” that serve as reminders of a higher purpose in your life you only have to do one thing – LOOK! If our eyes, ears and hearts are closed, we won’t be able to see God working in our lives. To see these “glimpses of heaven,” we need to do some very basic things in our life:
- Pray – we need to spend some time every day in prayer, talking to (and listening to) God
- Reflect – a simple examination of conscience every day, in which we rewind the tapes in our mind and examine all of the actions and inactions of the day help us identify things we can do (or not do) to strengthen our relationship with God
- Trust – believe that God wants only the best for you, that He loves you, and that he cares for you. Trust that God will give you what you need, when you need it – in God’s time, and in God’s way
- Live – very few of us are cut out to be hermits. We were created to live in community, sharing our lives with others. Think about it, even Jesus the Son of God lived in community with his disciples
- Learn – Not only do we need to learn new things, but we need to learn new ways to learn. Most of our young lives is spent “truths” about life as we are molded into the people we will be as adults. We form our values and our beliefs in this important time. But then, as adults, we have to remember that we don’t know everything. Learning is a life-long endeavor. As adults, we need to learn to look outside of self and be open to new or differing perspectives. That doesn’t mean we have to abandon our values and beliefs. It means that we have to be willing to accept that we do not know everything and be open to learning about our faith, our relationships in life, the way we communicate, etc.
The Kingdom of God is at hand, and heaven is a glimpse away. Set your eyes on Jesus and practice these simple steps and you will be able to witness all of the great gifts our Lord has given us.
Be at peace and know that you are loved!
This Blog Post Copyright Daniel R. Donnelly. All Rights Reserved. http://www.deacondan.com