Talking to God
TALKING TO GOD
By Emily VanBerkum
I have spent a great deal of time contemplating Jesus’ words to his Apostles in today’s Gospel. Jesus commissions them to go forward and preach God’s Word by their very lives, not simply because they are told to do so, but as a result of their real, life changing encounter with Christ as God incarnate. Jesus’ words are poetic. “What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.” To me, this is a clear sign that the road to bring others to Christ is not always a clearly defined or paved path.
To give encouragement, Jesus reveals something of God’s mercy and love by reminding them that God cares for even the smallest and cheapest offering made in the Temple and counts every last hair on our head. All are accounted for and embraced as part of God’s intended creation. Nothing willed by God is ever in vain. Therefore, we may sometimes feel confused by God’s action, or presumed inaction, in our lives. We may typecast God as being distant from us or as a “big picture” kind of thinker. And yet, to me, God is in all the little details of our lives.
Growing up, my parents would say a bedtime prayer before making the sign of the cross on my forehead and kissing me goodnight. They would not say anything scripted, but rather offered words from the heart usually expressing gratitude or would ask for God’s help. I am grateful to them for instilling in me the ability to really talk to God. In this way, God was always near, very personal, and intimately acquainted with my goings on. Our parish’s baptismal preparation program focuses on growing in relationship with God. Time, energy, care- these are but a few characteristics of how we build strong and healthy relationships with those we love. God is no exception. If we desire for God to be near to us, and to be receptive to God’s Word, it is essential that we dedicate to God and our faith lives the same time and energy we spend cultivating our other important relationships.
Allow today’s Gospel to be a reminder that no detail that weighs on our minds or hearts is too minuscule or insignificant to be overlooked by God. My prayer is for us all to recognize God’s actions both big and small and to talk to God as a close friend and confidant. Today, I share with you the words of Saint Alphonsus Liguori who offers us some direction:
“Become accustomed to talking to God as though you are face to face, familiarly, with confidence and love, as to a friend, the dearest friend you have, who loves you so much…There is no doorkeeper, for whoever wishes to speak to God; indeed, it is God’s pleasure that you should talk familiarly with God. Speak to God of your business, of your plans, of your sorrows, of your fears, and of all that concerns you. Above all do it, as I have said, with confidence and with an open heart, because God is not accustomed to speak to the soul that does not speak to God. Such a soul, being unused to dealing with God, will not well understand God’s voice when God speaks.”
…and the words of Venerable Dorothy Day: “If I have achieved anything in my life, it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk to or about God.”