Friday, February 29, 2008

Questioning Catholicism: How can I know there's a God who cares?

By Tim Hepner
Guest Columnist

Let’s see if I can answer this question in 400 words. Oh no, now I only have 383. Better get started:

Rather than look at the question in terms of “proving” God like He’s some math problem, let’s look at a more personal, but still objective, solution. If it’s true that God (in the person of Christ) plunged himself into the depths of my human experience, then the challenge now is to simply go and meet Him there.
“If you are seeking God,” said John of the Cross, “you may be sure of this: God is seeking you much more.” So the answer I’m offering for the frustration, restlessness and despair in our lives is an old one—namely prayer. But it’s prayer like you may never have experienced it. It requires silence, humility, honesty and persistence.

First, we need to realize how much noise we allow into ourselves. This can be a barrier between us and God, who wants to find us in the quiet, private, interior of our lives. We’ve barely skimmed the surface of ourselves and have yet to dive into the deep interior life that He gave us. As deep as I am, I need to be humble. Through humility, I admit that, if there is a God, He’s bigger than I am and knows more than I do. If I can find peace, it will involve admitting my littleness and vulnerability before Him; a process that causes me to sacrifice my comfort for fear, which in turn leads to genuine peace. But I can’t pretend I’m someone else—I have to be honest with God. If I’m angry or confused, I have to admit it to Him before I can come to that peace. Nothing will happen if I’m not genuine in prayer.

Finally, I need to be persistent, like an annoying little kid who will constantly pound away at a door until someone opens. This involves committing a specific time to quiet prayer every day and sticking to it, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything. If I’m not persistent, then I can’t say I truly want to know God.

This advice might not answer the question completely, but it’s a start. There’s more to be said by more knowledgeable people than me. But if you want to know more, there’s always that beer—no one’s taken me up on it yet.

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