We Were Created To See God

A woman in Utah sees a figure of Jesus on the side of her barn.  A Michigan family burns candles in front of a leather shoe on which they see the face of the Blessed Virgin.  You’ve probably heard stories like this. Christ on a piece of toast.  Mary in a water-stained concrete overpass.  We might find these stories funny or even shake our heads and wonder about the people involved.  Psychologists tell us though that we’re hard-wired to see human faces in the things of the world.  Wallpaper prints or linoleum patterns or leaves or rocks.  Who hasn’t looked up at the sky and seen a face in the clouds?  Scientists say our brains see faces as part of an evolutionary adaptation to see and protect babies.  We’re naturally drawn to faces because faces reveal our humanity in the midst of the dangers and chaos of the world around us. 
Or maybe there’s another reason.  Maybe it’s something much more profound than evolution and more miraculous than psychology.  Maybe we see Jesus on a piece of toast because He created us to seek Him.  And not just in church, but everywhere in the world.  It’s His creation, after all.  So it makes sense that we see Him or His mother in the world He made for us.  Why wouldn’t we see God in the things of the world?  It would seem much more miraculous if we didn’t see Jesus all over the place.  When I run across one of those “Jesus in a water stain” pictures, I admit that most of the time, I can see Him, too.
Our hunger for God leads our heart to find Him.  But we can never confuse seeing an appearance of an image of the Lord with an authentic relationship with Him.  It’s like confusing pleasure with happiness.  You can go to Mass every Sunday, support the work of the Church financially and with your talents, wear a crucifix around your neck and call yourself a Christian—but if you don’t know Jesus, you’re still lost.  God made us to know Him.  And we know Him by spending time with Him.  Just like in any relationship, you get to know someone by talking, by listening and by being open and available to allowing them into your life.  Your relationship deepens and matures as your hearts become vulnerable to one another.  Prayer is the starting point.  Reading the Gospels allows the life of Christ to unfold in words.  Mass is the public prayer of the Church and frequent Holy Communion brings the very life of God into our hearts.  We call this “grace.”  We were made for it.  Our lives have meaning through it.  Our eternity depends on it.
Jesus says to us, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the fullest”(John 10:10).  Imagine that for a moment.  He came to earth as a little baby for us.  Why?  Because our first parents had broken our relationship with God and He loved us and missed us.  He wanted us back with Him.  And so He came.  Why?  So that we may have life.  Life!  Because without Him, all we have is existence—passing time in a body until death claims us.  But with Christ comes life.  We live with meaning and purpose.  We awake from the stupor of our self-centeredness and inhale the rich, deep, everlasting essence of God’s love for us.  We’re alive!  Fullness of life, too.  Not just merely life, but life to the full. Life lived for Christ and in Christ is fully-lived.
From a piece of toast to eternal happiness in the love of Jesus Christ — sometimes I wonder how my mind works.  Perhaps you do, too.  But if you’ve read this far, I think it’s a safe bet that you’re a fellow pilgrim on the journey with Christ.  We are His disciples, set free through the Cross to love Him and our neighbor with a heart overflowing with His grace.  He didn’t promise us an easy road, but He did promise to always be with us along the way.  He made us to long for Him.  He created us to yearn for His love and grace.  And He wants nothing less than everything you are.  Rejoice!
“You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
                                                                     —St. Augustine

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Raul Soto
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 02:49:59

    Thanks Judy for sharing. You always have great insight into the simple things in life. I appreciate your work. May God bless you richly.


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