The very heart of our spiritual lives is set on the relationship we keep with God. Throughout our days and nights, as we experience all that it means to live—the joys, the challenges, the mundane—God is there.
God is with us not solely as a loving presence, but as an active partner we encounter personally, and repeatedly, as we fully live our lives.
We are, by spiritual nature, drawn to encounter with God . . . which is another way of saying that God calls us to Him. God is not simply there by our side for the journey of our lives. He guides. He comforts. He forgives. He actively enacts what it means for us to be His through the many and repeated daily encounters we have with Him, especially through Christ His Son. And we do the same in return: we actively know and love God through our encounters with Him. The entirety of Jesus’ life on earth, as we learn from the Gospels, was made up of the encounters he had with those closest to him, as well as strangers. Through the life of Christ, God shows us how He wants to know us intimately, through deep relationship.
This kind of deep relationship with God requires something special of us. With intentionality, in making the effort to connect God with all that we are and all that we do, we move closer to Him—and ultimately, we move closer to gaining eternal life with Him. Distraction comes in a multitude of ways, a devil of details that can consume and distract us from what’s most important. Certain distractions are easier to identify, such as materialism; for other less obvious distractions, it takes mindfulness, a regular examination of self at the end of the day, to know where we’re off-center (“What’s keeping me from God? Is it fear? Is it envy? Is it hopelessness?” And so on). Thankfully we have the glory of creation all around us, given to us by God to help conquer distractions, to catch our attention and continually bring us back to encounter Him every hour of every day.
Engaging with God with intentionality is expressed differently for everyone. Practice makes more perfect when it comes to this, as we “try on” ways of experiencing meaningful interaction with God. Our passions and gifts tend to give us natural avenues to encounter. Some people are hardwired to find God in interaction with other people, while others best connect with God in the privacy of solitude, which is less of a retreat from others and more of an intentional means of creating space for God.
The path to Godly encounter is there for us for the asking, as we sharpen our sense for engaging with God throughout our days. Pope Francis encourages us “to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ,” and he asks that we “do this, unfailingly, each day.” The fruits of this spiritual action promise to be a deeper understanding of the reality of God, who loves us.