Looking For God In All The Right Faces

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Heaven: Open!

Jesus gives everyone what they need to find Him. The Magi, St. Dismas, and St. Thomas the Apostle all looked for Jesus in different ways, but they all found Him. He gave the Magi the Star Of Bethlehem. He gave St. Dismas not only a front-row seat at the crucifixion but let him feel what He was feeling, let him suffer what He was suffering. No other human being can say they understood the passion and death of Our Lord as could St. Dismas.

When St. Thomas demanded personal individual treatment by the risen Jesus, He did what St. Thomas asked. He could have ignored him and said, “Don’t you know who I am? You think you can order Me to come to you? By God, I’m Jesus Christ.” But He knew what Thomas needed. He came to him and let him put his hand in the wound in His side and his fingers in the holes from the nails in His flesh.  This divine humility showed Thomas the way.

Most of us get no guiding star, no co-crucifixion, no personal appearance from the Risen Lord. Many, because they get no star, no sign and no apparition, say it’s all bollocks and hard sayings. And they walk away.  With Jesus’s gift of faith and hope, however, we should all believe that He is giving us whatever we need to seek Him out, to believe in Him, and to find our way home. We must look, but we must also see.

So what does He give us?  St. Paul tells us He gives us some divine signposts:

since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been created (Romans 1:20)

This creation includes the world, the whole universe, each of us, and all of us.

Creation:  World & Universe

Only the fool, trying to explain creation with human reason, says there is no God, and that creation is not of God. Only a fool ignores the evidence of the divine in the glory, grandeur, and beauty of the world all around us and the stars in the skies. This God-glory is a signpost to heaven:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. . .

. . . nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;  . . .

. . . the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”  (from God’s Grandeur, Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877)

Most days you can at least look up and see the sky. That alone proclaims the glory of God. Look around. His creation cannot cease to say “This way to Me.”

Creation:  Each Individual

Each of us is a unique, divine creation, made in the image and likeness of God, with intellect and free will. You could look at a mirror image of yourself, but that is not the image of God. A more convincing way to see oneself as serving as a signpost to God is to freely choose to do some good act – a voluntary act of selfless love for another – and then step back and realize you did not do that alone. In such an act of goodness, you “make” good, and there is God, right before one’s eyes.

Sometimes when we do a good selfless act, it can stun even us. One may stand back and realize, “With God’s help, I did that!” Our own free action becomes our own signpost.

Creation:  All  Y’all

Every person God puts in our daily lives can be a signpost for the road back to Him. Each of their acts of goodness toward us should be a beacon to heaven for us.  Pay attention – those acts are there, all the time.  Notice them and say “Thank you! God bless you.”

No one has bested C.S. Lewis in his discussion of the manifest divine glory and light-to-heaven shining from those around us, the folks God blesses us with every day.

It may be possible for us to think too much of our own potential glory in the afterlife. However, it is impossible to think too often or too deeply about the potential glory of our neighbor.

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses—to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal—they are immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

This does not mean we must always be solemn.

The greatest form of merriment exists between people who take each other seriously, without flippancy, superiority, or presumption.

And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ truly hides—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden.” (The Weight Of Glory, sermon by C.S. Lewis, 1941)

(“Y’all” is Texan for all youse guys, all you all; like in Pax Vobiscum, peace be to Y’all)

Back to God

Our lives are filled with the guideposts that show us the way back to God. God’s gifts to us of faith and hope tell us these signs point beyond this world and to a happy eternity with HIm.  All we have to do is look, and, more importantly, see. We too have a role in erecting those signs and lighting those messages for others – by voluntary acts of selflessness and free acts of love.

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