-Cardinal Basil Hume, In My Own Words, Hodder & Stroughton, 1999
It is common to hear people talk about searching for God. So often we think that we are the only ones doing the searching. It is easy to only think about our relationship from our point of view, and therefore we miss so much depth in our sense of God's presence. Sometimes we search for Him during situations where we may think He is afar, but in reality He is right with us. We can misunderstand His silence, thinking that He is not interested, or that in some way we have displeased Him and therefore He is too offended to want to be around us. Or we can mistake His silence as a lack of presence. In other words, we do not feel His presence so we think He is not near. Yet God is continuously calling us to Himself because He loves to be with us. We are not the only ones doing the longing! God longs for us, too. He simply cannot take His eyes off us.
Our feelings can be so deceptive. We are human and therefore we cannot always sense what is mysterious, and love is mysterious. We put our trust in what we feel, because we can access that. Yet often our feelings are misleading. It is no different than being in love with a person. We have feelings of love for them, and feel their love in return. Yet the longer we love the person, the deeper it goes. We do not have to constantly feel love to know we are loved by the other. The love becomes so deep that it blossoms into a very mysterious reality. Often we simply want to spend time with the other and do not even need to say much. It is enough to simply be together. We do not have to constantly feel love to know we are loved.
So it is with God. God's love for us is beyond comprehension. We can feel it from time to time in a very visceral way. However very often the feeling is elusive, yet we know that His love is real. He leaves signs of that love all around us in the family and friends He gives us, in the beauty of creation, in His Word, (Scripture) which is a long love story, and in the sacrifice of His life for us, the ultimate act of love. He remains with us, just as He promised. He looks at us with the same eyes of love with which a mother or father watches their child with wonder. Why should it be any different? He made us and He is indeed our Father.
There are many examples of this in the Scriptures, but one that comes to mind is at the Last Supper when Jesus prayed for the apostles whom He was leaving, yet not leaving them alone. He prayed that they would experience His presence through the Holy Spirit, which is His Spirit; that they would not only be empowered, but that they would know His love as well. He wanted His friends to feel His presence. When Lazarus died, it says that Jesus wept. He knew He was about to return life to Lazarus in just a few moments, yet He wept. Why? Because He loved His friend's Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, and they were in grief over the loss of their dear brother. Jesus was compassionate in the truest sense: He shared in their grief. (Compassion literally means 'to suffer with.') And of course, He felt what all people feel when they lose a friend. He entered into the grief that we feel when a loved one dies, even though we know they have gone to be with God eternally.
The best example of Jesus wanting to stay with us is the Eucharist. He gave us His Body and Blood for us to have forever, until He returns on the last day to bring all things to their conclusion, when the Kingdom will be completed. He gave us the Eucharist not just so we could have full access to Him, but so that He could remain in us. He wants to make His home in us, as was mentioned in the Gospel from yesterday, (John 15:1-8.) It is amazing that we often focus on our longing for Him, but not His for us. And yet He says that He wants to remain not just with us, but in us. He longs for us.
Most often, we think of how all of this feels from our point of view. But do we ever stop to consider how it is for God? Do we ever stop and ask Him to tell us how He feels about us? Do we let Him tell us how much He loves us? Do we simply sit with Him and let Him love us? I believe that He longs to do just that.
God can not take His eyes off us. His love is so great that He cannot stop watching us. We do not have to say much to Him all the time. It is good to give thanks, and it is good to give praise to Him, to worship Him. But there are other times when it is good to simply be with Him. It is so easy to do. All we need to do is turn our attention to Him and gaze back. Let us meet in the Presence of the One who cannot take His eyes off us. God's peace be yours! His love already is.