As I walk around the grounds of Saint Mary’s College it is almost the exception to see a student without a phone on her ear. Often they are touching base with one of their parents or a friend. It seems like everyone these days is just a phone call away. Land-lines are nearly becoming obsolete. Most of us love instant communication and want to stay connected with those we care about at all times, from wherever we happen to be.
I got to thinking about this growing phenomenon where students, and others, just can’t seem to get through the day without calling their parents or some other significant person in their lives, and how this might relate to our relationship with Jesus.
It is interesting and quite revealing to reflect on how often some of us connect with Jesus each day. I have to admit that if I didn’t go to Mass everyday I might not think of Jesus again until I pray at night before I go to sleep or unless I ask him for a favor during the day.
It takes a lot of conscious effort to recall the Lord’s constant, abiding presence in our lives; to really grasp the wonderful fact that he is always walking beside us no matter what happens. His love and his life in us keeps us going.
Recently I re-read a delightful little book called “Practicing the Presence of God.” It contains the reflections of a simple monk named Brother Laurence. He wrote how he continually strove to recognize Christ’s presence in all the people and events of each day of his life. He tried to live each moment, no matter what he was doing, conscious of God’s active love for all of creation. He experienced the Lord in everything and consciously lived in God’s presence. During most of his waking hours he carried on a running conversation with God.
One of the ongoing desires of my own life has been to try to live more that way. When we do, our lives will be transformed. Our attitudes toward others and the events of our lives can’t help but change if we recognize and remember that God is in and with them also.
If we are truly conscious of our God’s loving presence in each person, no matter who they are, it cannot help but influence the way we live our lives and treat one another.
An example I have used many times to explain God’s presence, is to think of it as radio waves. The atmosphere is filled with radio waves; but we have to turn the radio on to hear the music and voices. We know that God is faithful and with us always, but we have to “tune in” to him.
Another analogy comes from the Scriptures. The Book of Revelation 3:20 speaks of Christ saying: “Here I stand knocking at the door; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him.” This scene is depicted as a door with no handle on the outside. Only the person inside can open the door and let him in. God is always present but we have to let him in. We must learn to be conscious of that reality.
Jesus is always in and around us but we have to touch base with him. The more we do, the deeper our relationship with him will be. It can’t help but influence how we live.
It is a good way to begin a new year.
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