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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prayer: Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.

“You would not be searching for me unless you had already found me,” as Pascal suggests. In this sentence, the question posed already contains an answer of a sort. The question brings to mind and experience of a famous abbot in the Middle Ages. I see myself more or less in his story. The abbot used to speak very well, every morning to his monks, on finding God, on searching for God, on encountering God. He carried on until the day on which a monk dared to ask him if he himself had ever encountered God. After a bit of embarrassed silence, the abbot frankly admitted he never had a vision or a one-on-one meeting with God. Nothing surprising about that, since God Himself had said to Moses, “You cannot see my face” (Exodus 33:20). But this very same God taught Moses that he could see His back as He passed across his path. “You will see me pass.” And thus, looking back over the length and breadth of his life the abbot could see for himself the passage of God.

For the One, who wishes to write together with each of us our individual history, comes and abides to live life with us – often despite us. Without these respectful, but definitive passages of God, our life would not now be what it is. In this sense, it is less a matter of searching for God than of allowing oneself to be found by Him in all of life’s situations, where He does not cease to pass and where he allows Himself to be recognized once He has really passed: “You will see my back.”

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