Growing Into God
Jehovah knocked at my door yesterday afternoon…or at least two of his Witnesses did. Lovely couple; Ripley and Laura. I always have a tough time separating them in my head from vacuum cleaner and encyclopedia salesmen. But I felt compelled to invite them in from the cold. Setting aside the differences in our Faith, the incident caused me to examine my relationship to God. After all, when the “Father of our Country” invoked God during his very first State of the Union Address, he did not do so on behalf of the Catholic, the Jew, the Mormon or the Protestant. He did so on behalf of his own heart and the young nation as a whole. I wonder if he was as “into God” before his run from Jersey?
Reading Thomas Paine’s own words and reflections on the Winter of ’76, I can’t imagine that any of Washington’s men were anywhere close to “prepared” for what they had to endure. But I also believe that they were far closer to growing into God than most of us are today. What was bred “into” us then is being bred out of us now!
I’ve just started reading “Unbroken” and I realize that early in the story, Zamperini picks up the Bible to help him deal with the horrible reality of death in the Air Corps, “but it made no sense to him and he abandoned it.” The Zamperini who came out on the other side is another matter altogether…a matter than Ms. Jolie seems to have left out of the movie, so we’re told. But Louie Zamperini lived to tell us himself…he grew “into” God.
I have friends who are “into” God and I have friends who are not. I have some who say they are and I think their version has become something of a troubling norm. Better to have the secularist declare his secularism and leave the Faith undiluted. For what has become of us is much the same as the over-farmed field lacking in nutrient. This, in my humble opinion is how we diminished ourselves as a people from the virile and majestic spirituality of Bishop Fulton Sheen to the carnival-barking Archbishop Timothy Dolan…and worse!
As a result, generally speaking, our relationship to God has become similar to our relationship with the wild animals. We like them…we even love them…yet we are unable to get close to them. But how could we expect to in our present state of mind? And yet we all know, as many of us have experienced; that by changing habit, exercising patience and discipline, becoming softer, quieter and more “loving”…the squirrel or chipmunk will eat from our hand. Approaching God is no different…
So at this early point in a new year that will most likely hold significant challenges in store, I pray for God to intervene into our state of minds…that we may be sure to add the most important item of all to our checklists. May His Grace guide us back “into” that which we were never meant to be out of!