God’s truth

This week I am returning to a subject which we looked at some years ago. I do so because we have had some interesting recent discussions on the behaviour of God on aspects of grace, faith, judgment and redemption. It is all too easy to assume that because we can describe these matters, often in terms of Scripture’s account, we are able to express the truth.

We can, to take the obvious example, describe God as infinite, omniscient and omnipotent. You agree, of course. But we have no knowledge and can have no knowledge of what these qualities mean. Fundamental theology will tell us firstly that these are not qualities which God has but qualities which God is. They will go further and tell us that even relating God to such human concepts is to derogate from his nature. “Be still and know that I am God” would be the watch word.

Similarly we speak about eternity as if it were human time. We wonder how many days we may spend in Purgatory, or visualise our dead relations, reduced to mere souls, waiting patiently for the end of the world (only a billion years and 33 days, and counting.). But Purgatory is not even instantaneous – that word has no meaning in the hereafter.

When we think of more day to day concepts such as faith, grace or repentance we find similar difficulties. How do we understand grace, for instance: we believe it to be wholly from God yet if we respond, in itself through grace, has the capacity to make us holy as individuals. Or would anyone be prepared to tell us what faith really means when we apply it to our recognition of God?

And, by definition, Scripture is no better. Since it is written for human understanding there is no way for it to display the real truths which lie behind its words. When for instance we read Paul’s words “I live, now not I, Christ lives in me.” what the heck does that really mean? Have we actually changed our personal identity? Perhaps the best we can say is that Scripture is an impressionistic description of God’s ways with man. We are told stories, some of which are historical and some not, which inspire us to meditate and pray, and from which we can explore the truth and so can take us towards the ultimate truth which is too big for the human mind to grasp. The mysteries of faith as expressed are not the last word but the first word – from which we start our puny exploration.

I have no easy answers, but I must remind myself that in my discussions, for example in this Blog, I must be humble. I must hesitate at expressing my opinions as if they necessarily record the truth. I must respect those who disagree with me for they may have another shard of the truth, and their understanding – even if I disagree – may well enlighten me. Perhaps, when I comment, I should always include a little prayer to the Holy Spirit. It is hard to dodge humility when he’s around and he does not let us down.

And there you have a final example. I have called the Holy Spirit ‘he’. Why?

Advertisements

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Philosophy, Quentin queries, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to God’s truth

  1. John Thomas says:

    “we speak about eternity as if it were human time”. I spend a lot of time thinking about eternity (sad, I know …), and it is surely that which is outside time as we know/experience it (thus we have to talk about it like this) – but that which Christ offers, after death, or “Heaven”, is in eternity. But as eternity is beyond time, it always is, was, and will be – but actually none of those, as those are “time”-words. This means, in some sense, we are “there”, in it, already. I do believe that (contrary to what Spiritualists believe) former-people, the dead, are not “out there” somewhere, but in eternity with God (and therefore in no sense contactable), but that there is also a real spiritual realm (angels, demons) who are not physical but are within Time (which Spiritualism attests to). But I might be wrong …

  2. G.D. says:

    There are no ‘definitive’ answers. Beyond all our enquiring & seeking all ( & God) is ever more mystery to be known. All our ‘representations’ (needed as they are!) are mere ‘symbols’.
    …. and yet ….

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

    Little Gidding V,
    Four Quartets.
    — T.S. Eliot (1943)

    The Presence of God (grace? Love? Life? Being?) is All, for all, for ever.

    And, i really can’t help but believe, God (Creator) will ‘midwife’ (Spirit) creation through one final act of ‘birthing’ (Jesus Christ) as ‘intended’ at the original creating/blessing.
    ‘and God saw that it was good’ – and so shall we …. at some ‘time’ …. Or, should that be some ‘eternal moment’ that exists Now & eternally?

    John Thomas … We are ‘in it already’ it’s only our inability to know it that stops us being aware of it – and aware of the angels and the ‘dead’.
    (of course I only conjecture, not assert).

  3. ignatius says:

    Since we are approaching Advent I’ve been having to consider ‘eternity’ and suchlike for teaching purposes and so for my own contemplation and enquiry, for it is a great thing to come to a deeper understanding. Of course we find that moments of revelation are fleeting, rather like the way
    sunbeams walk across the sea.
    For descriptions of ‘eternity’ I think of torchlight beaming through fog or sunlight falling slanted through a window into a dusty room. There is illumination of matter…smoke/ water droplets/dust motes etc, these particles pass briefly through the light (because they are time bound) but the light does not alter. These examples are an a nod to Isaiah’s great analogy of the flesh which withers like grass and fades but the Word of the lord stands forever. For myself the example that helps me is of the Cuillin mountain range on Skye, from a distance one can view the whole panorama immediately and simultaneously but, close up and on the traverse it is truly a minute by minute affair.
    I don’t think it is impossible to ‘grasp’ a little of underlying reality because I believe living things have a kind of bodily understanding of things which can be intuitively grasped by use of the imaginative and contemplative faculties; this kind of apprehending is easily obscured by the over drive of rationality and conscious interpretation. We are of course already in ‘eternity’ in the same way almost as we are ‘in’ gravity;the phrase ‘ground of our being’ comes to mind as an attempt to explain the inexplicable..whenever I have the idea of ‘eternity’ then the idea of ‘glory’ is not far behind and I guess the most ‘solid’ appreciation I get of those realities is fleetingly sometimes when, standing next to the priest at mass, I lift the chalice for the doxology.

  4. St.Joseph says:

    Heaven as I feel it is not a Place but a State.

  5. Ignatius says:

    I used to go along with the idea that “Heaven is a state” But then I decided that in prdr to get into a state we must first be in a place to get in that state…! It’s a bit like saying Eucharist is a state and not a place, doesn’t quite work somehow.

  6. Brian Hamill says:

    We seek the whole truth but can only view the part truth, for we are man, not God. Only at the end of eternity (a true paradox) will we view the whole truth, for then we shall be God.

    • Horace says:

      One day I was in my office in the mental hospital where I worked studying electrical brain recordings when I heard sounds of a scuffle in the corridor outside.
      I went out to find a lady, in her thirties, walking down the corridor towards me. She was completely naked! Somewhat nonplussed all I could say was “Can I help you?’ She replied :-
      “ The world is going to end and I shall be God!”.
      After a little while I persuaded her that as it was quite cold perhaps it would be a good idea if she put on some clothes while she was waiting.
      We walked arm in arm back to the waiting room where we found a nurse gathering bits of clothing from various corners and three other patients stoically pretending that nothing was happening.
      The lady in question was suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy and this was simply an unusual epileptic attack.

  7. Martha says:

    Didn’t Christ become man, incarnate, God robed in human flesh, to show us His nature, so that we do not have to do the impossible, and contort our minds trying to comprehend what eye has not seen and what has not entered the heart of man while we are still here on earth? He gives glimpses sometimes to great saints as He did when He was transfigured before Peter, James and John, but there was no encouragement for Peter’s wish to remain there.

  8. John Nolan says:

    Why do we refer to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity as ‘he’? I suppose because the neuter pronoun suggests something inanimate, although we can refer to a small child as ‘it’. Deus, pater, filius, spiritus are masculine nouns in Latin, and switching genders while referring to a single Godhead might suggest that its essential unity is being compromised.

    ‘Ecclesia’ is feminine, and by Catholics at least is referred to as ‘she’ . Most abstract nouns are feminine in Latin and in English can be referred to using the feminine pronoun, but outside of poetry this is rare.

  9. St.Joseph says:

    John Nolan
    Thank you for that bit of information.
    I expect my thinking is that a Our Blessed Mother was filled with the Holy Spirit at the Incarnation so my first instinct would be She would be feminine.
    In a sense we are filled with the Holy Spirit at Baptism, so therefore without being heretical we could all become part of the Holy Trinity.
    Just a thought.

  10. ignatius says:

    Hmmm, scepticism is great and I too have met various people claiming to be Jesus Christ, I guess most of us have and the fact that many religious turn out to be epileptic is also well known.

    Yet it seems to me that the entire christian faith is built on the premise that the supernatural world has made a great incursion into ours. Also that we all pretend at least to be in daily communication with eternal beings…
    So, wouldn’t one expect there to be some degree of recognition between the temporal and the eternal?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Another thought came to me as I think a lot so I would otherwise not tell this.
      Horace’s post brought it back to mind.
      I was in hospital a few weeks ago for i0 days , and I was expecting a lady to bring me Holy Communion at 12 that morning on a Sunday at mid-day.
      So I went to the bathroom on my Zimmer at 10 along the corridor as to be back in good time before she came.
      About 30 ft away walking very slowly towards me was a very elderly gentleman in an overcoat carrying a bag.
      Our eyes met and held the gaze until we passed. I whispered ‘good morning’ he replied in a whisper!
      I remember thinking ‘That man is a saint’ ‘
      I carried on the corridor to the bathroom then a nurse came running after me to tell me someone was there to give me Holy Communion- I said no she is coming at twelve.
      Definitely for you she said, he mentioned your name.
      That explained to me the reason why I felt as though I was in ‘suspended animation’ at the time we passed in the corridor as though I was walking on the road to Emmaus.
      The whole experience whilst he was with me was wonderful, he told me he was 93 his wife 94, he walks quite a way to Mass every morning, asked me what was wrong with me, I told him I was given 8 weeks to live 2half years ago and yesterday I told him the doctor said to start preparing myself to die, as they could no longer do anything for me, as my stents had all vanished that does not happen to the pancreas and liver , another one would be too dangerous. He told me he would pray for me every morning at Holy Mass.
      Well the doctor was wrong, they put one in,and another if needed, and the last 3 appointment there has been an improvement every time;
      Thank you for your prayer.

      • G.D. says:

        There was more than one saint in that corridor!

      • St.Joseph says:

        G.D.
        Thank you for you reply.
        I have just come back from my local Hospice, who do such wonderful Theraphy and soand so many activities, many people who do such wonderful work in this world , we sometimes forget how fortunate we are, I even get transport.
        You were right about the corridor , there was St Joseph, my friend for 70 years, St Peregrine the cancer St, St Stanislaus Papczynski, St Padre Pio, St Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all on SS with your prayers etc. I am on the prayer list of seven parish Church’s , I am very fortunate.
        I am very blessed!

    • G.D. says:

      Yes, yes and yes!

  11. G.D. says:

    (do hope that the following makes some kind of sense!? I know it’s not ‘logical’!). ………..

    ‘God said to Moses ‘I am’ – not i am he or she.

    I too automatically see/think Father & Son as male, and Holy Spirit as female. But God has no ‘symbol’ for me at all.
    I have no subjective ‘image’ for the Trinity (as much as i love and meditate with Andrei Rublev’s icon) only a subjectively ‘felt/known’ sense of …. ? … well, mystery i guess …. but a mystery with a real objective Presence within it.
    (Words indeed fail us St J).

    Christ as God, took form as Man, but made from the substance (en-fleshed) of a woman, no male seed was involved(?). Interestingly, woman was en-fleshed from man in Genesis.

    Jesus, when discussing said we will be ‘like angels’ when ‘in heaven’ – Aren’t angels hermaphrodites/androgynous spirit’s? Just plain sexless?

    A perfect example of our (mistaken?) need to ‘explain’ & ‘label’ what can’t be ‘seen’ ‘known’ (yet!) and the way it creates in our own image(s) a false dualistic reality.

    We need our symbols/images/words, of course, to interact while in this ‘fleshly existence’. But, we also need to listen deeply, (always recollected in our spirit’s ‘knowledge’) and remember, when all is said and done, that they are only metaphors. The reality is and ever will be ….. much more. We can only conjecture when talking of God/Reality. Not definitively assert.

    When WE ‘get it right’ between us/for each other, then we know, and can manifest (assert?)
    ………… as .. It Was .. in .. The Beginning .. is .. Now .. and .. Ever Shall ….. BE(ing). ……..

    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    Brian, I take your meaning and point of “Only at the end of eternity (a true paradox) will we view the whole truth, for then we shall be God.” But ‘be’ God?

    My take on that paradox (and all duality!) is ….
    Only by entering the eternal (e)state shall we know the whole truth,
    for then we shall know God. As God Is. As Truth.
    And our true selves, as part of God.
    (Part of the Trinity’s relationship St. J.).

  12. G.D. says:

    That yes and yes was meant to be a reply for ignatius’ post November 11, 2016 at 9:31 am

    • St.Joseph says:

      G.D.
      That is a very spiritual post and comes from your soul.
      I believe our souls speaks for us at times, I often look back at things I have said or written and thought ‘ Did I really say that’!

  13. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph

    ‘And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary’. In other words the Holy Ghost played the ‘masculine’ role and Our Lady the feminine (and indeed the female, since she gave birth to the Saviour). This makes it all the more problematic to refer to the Holy Ghost as ‘she’. It’s less to do with philosophic or theological speculation as it is with with the peculiarities of English grammar; in most languages the choice of pronoun would be axiomatic.

    Angels, as pure spirits, are sexless. Yet conventionally they are referred to and depicted as male. There are no doubt semantic reasons for this, but does it matter?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Thank you John , that stretches my brain a bit ,it is not a problem to me.
      I am pleased I am not the only one to use the name ‘Holy Ghost’.when I make the Sign of the Cross .
      I will show my ignorance now why do we call the Holy Spirit a Person? You may have explained that.

      God the Father ,Jesus the Man perhaps the Holy Spirit is the Mother. all ThreeI.in.One is that what you meant?. (I left school at 14 so did not learn much grammar.)

  14. Ignatius says:

    Quentin,
    “Be still and know that I am God”

    You are right about the watch word but ” know ” surely implies knowledge of, or does it not?

    • G.D. says:

      Ignatius, ….. ‘Knowledge of’ yes, of course. But can there be a ‘knowledge of’ that is an awareness beyond our usual intellect/imagining/feeling/intuitions? Can there be a way of knowing the ‘mystery of God’ (and indeed self) devoid of our usual disparate constructs of knowing?
      A type of ‘completed wholeness’ that contains an ‘awareness’ of all that is, and is union of all that is? Including God?
      Not some distant ‘beatific vision’ that’s the final blessing; but to learn to do it now.

      When sitting in deep silence it can happen that people are ‘not aware of being aware of self & other’ but THEY ARE AWARE.
      After sitting, they can recall/remember (1) being aware; (2) somehing of the ‘type of awareness’ ; (3) all ‘others’ present within it.

      There are many different ways of experiencing the above, of course, not only ‘sitting in silence’ .
      (Although i think it’d be good for all to do so. But that’s just me proselytising – Mae Culpa.).

      It can’t be explained or grasped by any reference (of ‘knowing’) to what isn’t that ‘type’. Our usual disparate constructs fail to capture the ‘mystery’ of that ‘knowing’ .

      The closest thing i can give as analogy is ………..
      When two people are ‘in love’ they can, and do, ‘loose themselves in each other’, and are not aware of self or the loved one for ‘a time’ but know they were both there ‘lost in each other’ ‘become as one’ because they can recall it. (Maybe even ‘get lost’ again!).

      To repeat myself …. They are not aware of self or other at the time; but after are aware that they were aware, recalling/remembering the ‘being’ of self & other. (Hope that makes some kind of sense! Know it’s not logic!).

      All usual ways of ‘labelling’ or ‘referencing’ the experience don’t compute.

      To live (embody/imitate/abandon our ‘self’ to) that ‘knowledge’ of God in relationship to self & all others (including, especially, God) all creation even, is i believe, what we strive for, what we were brought into being for. What Jesus did!

      But it can only be reciprocal – both have to embody it in relationship to each other for it to become reality. God does it always, Is It Always …………
      May God hasten the Day when i can. When all can!
      (enough of this Joycean rambling!)

  15. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph
    ‘In Godhead one, in Persons three’ (Catholic hymn).
    ‘God in three Persons, blessed Trinity’ (Anglican hymn).
    ‘So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty’ (Roman Rite, Preface for the Most Holy Trinity).

    We don’t fully understand the Trinity; it is a mystery. God is neither male nor female but the convention of using the masculine pronoun is not entirely for reasons of grammar. We certainly don’t want to fall into New Age neo-paganism and its worship of the ‘Earth Mother’.

    Trendy Australian priests took to baptizing ‘in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier’. Although it is quite in order to describe the three Persons of the Trinity in these terms, such baptisms were declared by the Church to be invalid.

    Those who defy convention are making a too obvious point, usually a political one.

    Anyone who learned his or her prayers before 1965 will say ‘Holy Ghost’ unless they have deliberately re-schooled themselves. I still say ‘Ay-men’ rather than ‘Ah-men’ when reciting prayers in English. (by the way, this is still the custom in North America.)

    • St.Joseph says:

      John thank you.
      One would think I had enough to think about but actually it does keep my mind active..
      SS is good for one living on. one’s own.I have learned a lot from it over the years.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I have had the thought after reading Quentin’s post above where he speaks about Purgatory and how many days we would spend being there.
        I know it is a hypothetical answer.however I sat thinking and asked myself what would Purgatory be for me and I hope I am not being heretical in my thinking, it is just something as I am sitting here talking to myself (I know what my husband would have said to that).
        However, would I do things differently if God sent me here again to make amends for what I have done and what I have failed to do.
        I believe I could do the things I have failed to do, as I would probably feel good to be given a second chance to do them and not be tempted to do the things I ought not to have done.
        However my Purgatory with regards to the things I have done- my punishment would be
        to do all over again- even though I don’t regret it, are the things I have done that I have mentioned on SS organising a SPUC Branch, looking after pregnant girls, running a Guest House and a Licensed Public House. with ‘3 Bars, entertainment,’ good entertainment’ and food,but I would have needed to do that to have the finance to study and teach Fertility Awareness! . Which I would do again.
        That would be a bit of a predicament because my punishment would be just that- to do all that over again. That would really be a punishment for my redemption!

        I think it is time I went to bed!!!

  16. Brendan says:

    God who is ineffable in our ‘ algorithmic ‘ Earth-bound dimension ; is nevertheless present always in us- not through out ‘ assenting ‘ to Him in faith , like the assenting in faith between fellow mortals – but……” In the abundance if his glory may he , through his Spirit , enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self , so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith , and then , planted in love and built on love , with all God’s holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length , the height and the depth ; so that knowing the love of Christ which is beyond knowledge , you may be filled with the utter fullness of God .” [ Working of The Most Blessed Trinity ] Ephesians 3:16-19
    When one experiences that, then we ‘ recognise ‘ faith in God.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Brendan.
      At that time we will know Him Truly. Then we never have to look back!

      • Brendan says:

        My wife and I went to the cinema today to see ” Arrival “. A ‘ sci-fi ‘ and a secular/humanist project in content ; it is a thoughtful intelligent piece of cinema. To my surprise I began to view it as an allegory on some aspect of a religious ( and for me Christian ) Faith – as is often the case with out-of-this-world cinema .
        Although completely humanist in a materialistic sense ; on a Christian level it made me think of how we give credence to our reception of power ( grace ) from a superior being ( God ) and how it can change oneself ( perspective ) and the people ( world ) around us. Others may not see this film as I do ; but I can recommend this film , bearing in mind this interpretation
        As we know, God can come out of some very unexpected/surprising areas of life !

  17. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph

    Brendan, GD, Ignatius, not least Quentin whose blog this is, make us think about things. In the midst of life we are in death, and before long we shall all have to confront it. Purgatory will be mild for you compared with what is in store for me. That I know. Oremus pro invicem.

    • ignatius says:

      Aye, John,
      but remember the last judgement is of love, Matt 25 31-46, we are judged, in love, on how we have loved. I’ve been doing a bit of a series on this with the lads in the big house and have got it as clear as I can by now. Let us indeed pray for one another but remember who it is we pray to!

    • G.D. says:

      We are all in it together, John. One Body of Christ and all that.
      We will all share the same pains in purgatory (i presume there is only one, outside time?)
      each other’s.

    • G.D. says:

      Sorry Quentin posted wrong with wrong email.

    • G.D. says:

      John, we are all in it together. One Body of Christ and all that.
      We will share the same pains in purgatory (i presume there is only one, outside time?) each others.
      As indeed we share each others ‘sin’s’ now by the pains inflicted on that one Body by them.
      But, there is only one ‘sin’ that causes all the others – fear of not being ‘good enough’ to accept the Unconditional Love that God is. Now & forever.

  18. St.Joseph says:

    John, I don’t believe anyone knows for sure what God has prepared for those who love him.
    And you love Him and you love His Church;

  19. ignatius says:

    So,
    I would like to hear anybody else’s view on the ‘knowability’ of God. I’ve thought about it for a couple of weeks now and have come to the conclusion that God is knowable somehow. By ‘knowable’ I mean we are capable of perceiving something of the spirit of God. Filter darkly it may be but present nonetheless. Seems to me that this ‘knowability’ shrieks at us throughout the bible and through the spiritual literature of the ages as well as in our own hearts/minds. Can anyone honestly on here attest to the contrary? I’d really like to know if anyone ha gone through their entire christian life without having EVER had anything like the sense of being ‘understood’ at least. My own conviction is that the Christian faith would not exist if God were not, in some way, knowable.

    PS Bernard, I saw it too…God in a Pod!!! note there were even twelve of them!

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      The knowledge of God , is for me in Communion with Jesus’ Real Presence in the Body Blood Soul and Divinity in every Tabernacle in the world.
      As The Blessed Trinity He is everywhere, there is nowhere that He isn’t.
      Unless we think, He is not, (perhaps hell if we are in hell on earth but He is still there.
      He is very close to us, when we are in pain He comforts us, when we are in danger he guides us, if we listen to Him- we will not go astray, also Our Blessed Mother, under Her protection we have nothing to fear.
      I do not take God for granted but when one is brought up from as long as our memory begins, He is a big part of our lives as a very close friend , He would be greatly missed if we should lose sight of Him!!

    • Brendan says:

      That’s right Ignatius. Good to hear we’re from a fellow time-traveler on my wavelength !

      • Brendan says:

        Further to this Ignatius …of course good is ‘ knowable ‘;but in a different sense to how we know each other in our ‘ time and space ‘., governed as we we are by these limitations. ..” we see through a glass darkly .” As St.Joseph reminds us ; in Gods domain – ‘ no time and space ‘….” My dear friends , we are already God’s children [ knowable and knowing because we feel His presence in us by ‘ grace ‘ ] , but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed . We are all aware that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. ” 1John 3:2 (NJB)
        Of course the atheistic humanist ( limited in ‘ sight ‘ as he is ) will rejoice at the level of achievement by humans in his ( our ) universe – as in the borne out in the film “Arrival ” . But Christians ‘ know ‘ that this/our ‘ reality ‘ as seen by the atheist is not the last word on the subject as it can never answer the eternally perplexing question… ‘ then what next ‘. Only God can answer that for humanity for all ‘ time .’…..” our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” ( Augustine)

    • Martha says:

      You see, Ignatius, Nov 15 8.09 pm, it was emphasised quite strongly in my childhood that loving God is a matter of will, not feelings, and that has mostly stayed with me. “If you love Me, keep my commandments,” “Whatever you do for the least of my little ones that you do unto Me,” it is all practical, and it is what we do for Him in all the requirements of our state in life, in prayer, and in helping others, which brings us closer to God, and our feelings do not matter at all. I know that God loves me, and that He lived and died for me, and I feel very grateful and want to please Him in return, though not ever enough, and I can feel upheld somehow when praying, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, and I can marvel at the glories of God’s creation, the diversity of life, and the wonder of colour and music that He has given us, but I know at the same time that He is probably more pleased with me when there is no special stimulus and I am struggling through the chores, or through a dreary, repetitive conversation with another one of His children (which is probably how He finds me.) I suppose all people of good will share in some of these experiences. I think of worshippers at pagan shrines who must sense something of God as well as responding to the peaceful and rather sensual ambience which must be common to us all at our altars. I am not sure how usual or important it is to have, or think we have, individual, felt, experiences of God.
      I

      • Ignatius says:

        Martha,

        That’s. really useful for me. A last question, You have said “I know that God loves me” and have used the word “know many times here in this post. IWhat is “knowing” for you?
        Is it the same as knowing,say, 2+2=4 ?

      • G.D. says:

        Martha, you say God is more pleased ‘when there is no special stimulus and I am struggling through the chores, or through a dreary, repetitive conversation with another one of His children’ as if this was not ‘felt’ too, as well as the ‘good’ feelings.
        But, yes, i guess it is on a foundation of ‘will’ (whatever that is?) & being ‘willing’ to love as God would have us do. In both ‘consolation & desolation’.

      • ignatius says:

        Hi Martha, Just read your post more carefully and the sentence about ‘being upheld somehow’ you can now safely ignore my question below about the type of your ‘knowing’. That was really helpful, thanks.

      • Quentin says:

        Martha, as you know, I am wary of making comments on contributions. But your description of our relationship with God is exceptional. It answers so many questions. I am printing it out so that I can keep it in my missal, and so pray with it in my mind. Thank you.

  20. G.D. says:

    As scary as death can be, incomprehensible mystery as it is, we will ‘die’ only to ‘step into life’; and never alone. We are all part of the same Body of Christ. In it together.

    We share our pains – the ways we, as individuals, don’t acceptance God’s Presence ‘Now’ – the affect of ‘Adam’s sin’ for all of us, because we are (in reality!) one body. (St. Paul’s writing on the ‘foot’ or whatever not needing the ‘eye’ etc)

    We shall share the same ‘purgatory’ (I assume there is only one? Outside of/Devoid of time!) and in doing so share our only real suffering – fear of not being ‘good enough’ for God ‘not able to accept’ God.
    None of us are – but God doesn’t give that a thought. And does it for us.
    Let go, let God.

    All of us, i believe & hope, (all of creation even?) TOGETHER, as one in Christ, will come to finally (outside time) realise (make real for us) and accept, the unconditional love of God – given us unconditionally through that very Body of Christ.
    If all that is totally wrong, as it may well be, i at least hope i will get there …. tut … selfish to last! Mae Culpa!

    (quite liked my lime green icon, now it’s red!)

  21. ignatius says:

    GD
    “We shall share the same ‘purgatory’ (I assume there is only one? Outside of/Devoid of time!) and in doing so share our only real suffering – fear of not being ‘good enough’ for God ‘not able to accept’ God.
    None of us are – but God doesn’t give that a thought. And does it for us.
    Let go, let God…”

    Technically speaking we will not fear ‘not being good enough’ in purgatory. We will suffer our simultaneous ‘longing for’ yet ‘still distance from’ for we have seen him in his glory at judgement and are now having to wait. But we will know that we are being purged and that our end with God is assured. Purgatory, as I understand it is not a place of punishment but of longing, a kind of ‘punishment ‘ in its own right I guess. So there will be joy amid tears in Purgatory, for us all.

    • G.D. says:

      Quite right ignatius no fearing. Got my wires crossed a bit there. We will share each other’s pains at not having accepted fully … weep over that for each other .. and in God’s good ‘time’ .. move on.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      Yes as you say ‘it is a longing for God’ to be close to Him . Here in our lives we have The Comforter The Holy Spirit Who is sent to us by the Father as He sent to the Apostles to comfort t,hem while we await our final Destination.

  22. Martha says:

    No reply buttons for comments from Quentin and Ignatius, but I am pleased that my thoughts are helpful in some way. I find awareness of the Communion of Saints, all of us on earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven, all part of the mystical body of Christ, thinking of each other, united in prayer, and praying for each other, is a great support and help in knowing and thinking about our God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s