Many songs and poems speak of letting go of those we love in hopes that one day they will come back to where they belong. Perhaps that also can describe God’s relationship with each of us when our dreams and desires take us away from Him. God knows we belong with Him, but we have to come to that realization for ourselves.
Let us be clear: God’s love is always right for us, but oftentimes we are not ready to accept it wholeheartedly. We feel the need to go out on our own and to live life our own way in order to find what we want. God patiently waits for us to find our way back to Him—to the love that is everlasting.
Consider St. Augustine (AD 354 – 430): For years, Augustine was not ready to accept the fullness of God’s love. Instead, Augustine allowed passions and pleasures to rule his day. As a boy, he enjoyed mischief such as stealing fruit because it was not permitted. Although he was raised as a Christian, he left the Church during his early adulthood. To the dismay of his mother, Monica, he led what was considered a hedonistic lifestyle.
Augustine also knew that beneath those passions and pleasures was a profound emptiness. Although he loved God’s many creations on earth, in his heart of hearts he had a longing that could not be abated. What Augustine longed for was to love and to be loved by the Creator. Can we say the same about ourselves? How much time and energy do we spend experimenting and experiencing what life has to offer—the good and the bad—without any regard beyond our own self-satisfaction?
While we may experience a temporary satisfaction in the exhilaration or excitement of the moment, emptiness remains in our souls. Let us learn from St. Augustine. Although he was a sinner, he heard God’s calling to change his ways. Only then did Augustine realize in his heart where he belonged—in God’s loving hands. With the help of his mother’s persistent prayers, Augustine converted back to Christianity. Immersed in God’s love, Augustine followed the path to holiness to become a saint and Doctor of the Church.
Is Now the Time?
Like Augustine, God believes in each of us and wants all of us to become saints. Even though He calls us, He does not force Himself on us. Truly, with God’s love comes great patience, mercy, understanding, and a readiness to welcome us in His heavenly Kingdom. Are we ready? How much time do we need to answer His call? How long will it take for each of us to realize where we belong?
While His love is infinite, our time in this world is not and it is during this time that we can either immerse ourselves in God’s love, accept His love halfheartedly, or reject Him completely. May we find inspiration through St. Augustine and may our hearts, minds, and souls come to see that we belong with God now and forevermore.