The mystic Catholic, Thomas Merton, once noted that: “If you find God with great ease, perhaps it is not God that you have found.”
This statement underscores one of the deepest problems I have encountered over the course of my own life. I settled for thinking that I knew God, or God’s will or purpose, when I am quite sure that I was overconfident many times. The ease with which I spoke, and the ease with which I processed this knowledge, should have warned me but I was too dull oft times.
Theologians rightly speak of the deus absconditus, or of the God who is absconds, or is absent. The Psalmist knew this reality and do did Mother Teresa. Great mystics have known it and so have ordinary saints. Luther and Calvin knew it too. Just when we think we have God, or we have figured him out, he is absent from us again. He will be sought but finding is on his terms. He will be known, but not because we are so wise. His grace is for all, but not all find it unless they seek it. Ours is an age for “easy” this and that. Knowing God will never fit into the category of something called “easy.”
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Very nice to see Merton mentioned. He is one of the prominent spiritual writers who has influenced my life and I’ve found his books very helpful over the years.
After having spoken on “mystery” for the last two weeks, your comments summarize exactly what I was hoping to communicate. Thanks for the short, sweet, challenging reminder!