How many times have you wondered “Why don’t I feel God?”
It’s a natural question.
Created as a union of body and soul, it’s normal for a Christian to desire a sense of God’s presence. After all, we are “created through him and for him”, says St. Paul (Col 1:16).
Of course, this doesn’t mean we necessarily “feel” Him like we do the rest of the created world. In fact, that’s pretty rare.
Regardless, in order for there to be an authentic divine intimacy (and any chance of sensing him), we must have a plan of conquest. It’s what many spiritual writers call the “science of sainthood.”
And this plan, this “science of sainthood”, is necessary because because like a buried treasure, God is hidden within you. But interestingly, St. John of the Cross doesn’t say we seek the treasure of intimacy with God so as to expose it.
Rather, the spiritual treasure hunter “should secretly penetrate its hiding place, and when he finds it, he too is hidden as it is.”
It’s almost like that old game of “sardines” you used to play in high school. One person hides, and when another person finds him, they join in the hiding until there’s only one person left who hasn’t found the hiding spot.
(That last person was always pretty lonely:)
But there’s a twist, says Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary of Magdalen. In hiding with God, we actually reveal him. Why? How?
Well, the biggest reason he was “hidden” in the first place was mostly due to the clutter and junk in our lives that covered him up.
We hide him by our superficial distractions and focus upon worldly affairs.
But in the process of finding him, we clear out the clutter and cut through the distractions. To put it another way, in turning away from ourselves, we find God, hiding with and in Him.
So as we approach Advent, focus on removing the junk and clutter that keeps you from sensing the presence of God.
“Forgetting everything and withdrawing from all creatures, hide yourself,” says St. John of the Cross, “until you find Him in the intimate seclusion of your spirit. Then…in secret you will hear Him and love Him and enjoy Him…above all that tongue and sense can understand” (Spiritual Canticle I, 9).
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