Where is God?
The Answer My Friend is Blowin' in the Wind ...
How many roads most a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
-- Bob Dylan
The Wind Blows Where it Pleases
--by Thomas Merton, excerpted from No Man is an Island
God, Who is everywhere, never leaves us. Yet He seems sometimes to be present, sometimes absent. if we do not know Him well, we do not realize that He may be more present to us when He is absent than when He is present.
There are two absences of God. One is an absence that condemns us, the other an absence that sanctifies us.
In the absence that is condemnation, God "knows us not" because we have put some other god in His place, and refuse to be known by Him. In the absence that sanctifies, God empties the soul of every image that might become an idol and of every concern that might stand between our face and His face.
In the first absence, He is present, but his presence is denied by the presence of an idol. God is present so the enemy we have placed between ourselves and Him in mortal sin.
In the second absence He is present, and His presence is affirmed and adored by the absence of everything else. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves, although we do not see him.
Whoever seeks to catch Him and hold Him loses Him. He is like the wind that blows where it pleases. You who love Him as arriving from where you do not know and as going where you do not know. Your spirit must seek to be as clean and as free as His own Spirit, in order to follow Him where He goes. Who are we to call ourselves either clean or free, unless He makes us so.
... Those who love only His apparent presence cannot follow the Lord wherever He goes. They do not love Him perfectly if they do not allow Him to be absent. They do not respect His liberty to do as He pleases. They think their prayers have made them able to command Him, and to subject His will to their own.
God approaches our minds by receding from them.
We can never fully know Him if we think of Him as an object of capture, to be fenced in by the enclosure of our own ideas.
We know Him better after our minds have let Him go.
The Lord travels in all directions at once.
The Lord arrives from all directions at once.
Wherever we are, we find that He has just departed.
Wherever we go, we discover that He has just arrived before us.
Our rest can be neither in the beginning of this pursuit, nor in the pursuit itself, nor in its apparent end. For the true end, which is Heaven, is an end without end. It is a totally new dimension, in which we come to the rest in the secret that he must arrive at the moment of His departure; His arrival is at every moment and His departure is not fixed in time.
...The freedom of God's gift of life calls for the response of our own freedom -- an act of obedience, hidden in the secrecy of our deepest being. We find the Lord when we find His gift of life in the depths of ourselves. We are fully alive in Him when the deepest roots of life become conscious that they live in Him. From this consent to exist in dependence upon His gift and upon His freedom springs the interior life.
Let the command of His love be felt at the roots of my existence.
Excerpted from: No Man Is an Island, by Thomas Merton (See Chapter 14, pages 237-242), esoberbuddy gratefully acknowledges the Trustees of Merton Legacy Trust and Harcourt Inc., in the use of this material.
My LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-- Thoughts in Solitude
The Barber asks: Does God Exist?
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed.
As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation and talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."
"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.
"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."
The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.
The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."
"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"
"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside. "Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me." "Exactly!" affirmed the customer.
"That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! Because people do not look to God for help is why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."