God encounters

Teresa Lo

Prior to Mother’s Day, my nine-month-old nephew made his entry to the Church through the sacrament of baptism. I became his godmother.

This sacred occasion was reminiscent of my other nephew’s baptism in 2015. One day Bob came home and said with much eagerness that he wanted to be a Catholic. He believed I was fit to be his godmother. Ever since then, he has made it a routine to attend Mass by himself.

Out of curiosity, I asked him, “Why do you insist on going to Mass?” Without hesitation, Bob responded, “I can feel peace in the church.”

There are those who believe in God and are convinced that God can bestow onto them a peace not found in this world. This peace is felt deeply in their inner recess of the heart, in situations beyond their control, in times of woundedness and in times of uncertainty.

God is with us all the time. Bob might not feel His abiding presence in his school, in his family or in the neighborhood. But God encounters, to Bob, are apparently felt in the Sunday mass.

Not everyone else happens to meet God the way Bob does.

My brother has not been a churchgoer for quite a long time. He chooses to live his life in the spirit of love and charity. I see in this brother of mine the trait of gentleness and empathy so unique that I feel so comfortable with his presence. In his new fatherhood, he began to pick up a new hobby – posting his baby boy’s pictures on Facebook and giving a caption or even a short narration.

This is not an ordinary father’s new activity, but rather a budding soul story of a Christian who discovers his God encounters might begin from his daily touch with his baby boy.

He brought his son to the beach on a windy Sunday for the first time. He put these beautiful words on the social media: “We can tell from his face that he is excited yet sleepy. But we still make the effort to bring him here, so he can truly experience the beach, the sand and the feeling of being touched by the waves.”

My brother would never guess he has brought his child to God by connecting him to God’s creation. He let his child feel as it was. He allowed his child’s feelings flow naturally without imposing his views on him. The last line of his post said, “After sitting for a while, his facial expression tells us he is not comfortable with the hot sand.” Attached to this text was a picture of his nine-month-old in a frown of disapproval turning his head toward the mother. She was by his side, laying her fingers on his tiny arm and supporting the other side of his back with another arm.

The nine-month-old can keep coming back to the beach but he might not react, sit or play in the same way. And yet, a sensitive and attentive father was capable of capturing this authentic moment and turning it into a contemplative prayer in his journeying of fatherhood.

Little by little, his son’s golden moments soon become his. They become one in spirit. This is a union of love.

Parents are busy. Yet, a good way to engage in contemplative prayer is to pay attention to the time spent with children – at home, at the park, in the restaurant. Whether it is gazing at them, cooking with them or catching snapshots of their movement, these lovely creatures can help us discover ourselves – and the Divine just about anywhere.