God as Mystery, God as Neighbor

spaceYesterday was a normal day, just like any other, but for some reason I woke up and was jolted with some unexpected thoughts about life and death. I hopped in the shower and a series of unanswerable questions swept my head space. What actually happens to us when we die? What exactly does God do all day? What/who is God? The questions simply led to more and more questions. And I’ve to come to the unfortunate realization that sometimes there is no concrete answer. I’ve been told by my professors that it takes a lot of intellectual maturity to accept that some things will always be a mystery—sometimes there is no answer.

Sometimes all we can do is enter into the mystery.

Having just finished my journey through the Spiritual Exercises, I was struck most by the final Contemplation on the Love of God. Opening my mind to the actions of God in the world, I found myself so overwhelmed. The only word I could use to describe it was mystery. In my prayer, I surrendered to the contemplation, allowing my mind to run through all created things: from the most sublime galaxies of the cosmos to the tiniest of potato bugs. It was then that I got a taste of God’s mysterious love. Ignatius makes it very clear that love is not about the words spoken but deeds done. Love is about action, and God is constantly “in action”—constantly falling deeper and deeper in love with creation.

I was in awe of God’s love, seeing God in action, everywhere and in all things. I experienced God laboring within me and for me. However, this God was so big, so sublime, and so mysterious that I did not know what to do or where to start. It was as if I realized what/who God actually is and was left paralyzed.

I started my prayer by acknowledging this sublime and mysterious presence flowing through me. And I remember praying one of the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever prayed. I said humbly, “I want to know you so badly.”

I kept repeating it, and then God said, “You are knowing me…as you get to know yourself…as you get to know your neighbor.”

Subscribe to dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian SpiritualityIndeed, God is mysterious, but we are constantly invited to know God as we know ourselves and our neighbor.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for those lovely thoughts. When I am in the shower I imagine the water as the Holy Spirit drenching me and giving me strength for the day.
    Jim

  2. The quote from PS. 42 took me to the expression and rythm of the Song of Songs. The addictive desire of the lover for the beloved: nothing else matters, nothing else exists.
    Thank you.

  3. Thank you for sharing your acceptance of God as mystery. I’ve never done the spiritual exercises – and may never get that chance – but I’m increasingly drawn to the concept of seeing God in all things and in other people.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am in Australia & am
    13 weeks into my 30 weeks Spritual exercises
    I love searching net & reading others experiences. Well written!

  5. The longing in the words “I want to know you so badly” filled my heart with desire to go to Jesus and ask Him to fill my life with more and more of this longing, this desire to know Him. Tha k you.

  6. Thanks for inspiring me this afternoon! This is a treasured piece of writing and filled with words of longing. The mystery remains as we catch a glimpse of a God who is LOVE.
    Like Jim, I also believe you have a gift so please keep on writing.

  7. One of my favourite verses is Ps. 42:1: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.” You have expressed the same thought so beautifully as you said, “I want to know you so badly.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the impact of the Spiritual Exercises. I found the 19th Annotation transformational and am so grateful to St. Ignatius and to my spiritual director.

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