FAUSTO GOMEZ OP
After trying to answer the questions on my personal and social identity and responsibility, we need to touch on another question, the most radical one: Who is God for me? I am a religious person (aren’t we all – consciously or unconsciously?). I am a Christian. My God is my Creator and the Creator of the whole creation and of all its creatures. He is the God of Jesus Christ, his Son and our Savior. He is my – our – Father. The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and the Son. Hence, my God is One and Triune: One God and Three divine Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
A pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) was asked why did he punish himself with walking over 700 kilometers. His answer: “I am looking for God.” All humans, consciously or unconsciously ae looking for God. It is in our nature: looking for love, for happiness – for God. The Psalmist prayed: “Your face, Lord, do I seek; do not hide your face from me” (Ps 27:8). “Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord” (Ps 4:6).
It is becoming clearer that faith in God (religion in general) helps much in being happy, in particular in being able to carry the cross of our life. God is the only Absolute of my life – and prayerfully yours!
The rocky grounding of true happiness is faith in God, and a life of prayer and compassionate love. Love means love of God and love of neighbor. Love of neighbor entails love of all: as God’s love is not selective, mine should also be universal. Among all neighbors and without excluding anyone – not even my enemies -, I try to love principally the needy and the poor. Why? Because each one of them is, in a special way, “Christ”, who said: “I was hungry and you gave me food; thirsty, and you gave me a glass of water; sick and you visited me…” (cf. Mt Chapter 25).
My God is also the God of hope, the giver of hope. I am a pilgrim with a thousand hopes – good human hopes – plus One: faithful and loving hope in heaven, in God. Life is a journey to God, and I hope that we shall be saved by his mercy, with our little graced cooperation that God wants from us and appreciates. God is the object of my hope, and union with him and family and friends, the goal of this earthly life. On my journey of life, I am at time worried, at times forgetful of God, at times I may lose my way. Still, and always, God is there for me – for you – in Jesus Christ, who died for all. Why am I attached to persons, to things, to my selfishness when God is what matters most? In him everything has a sense: work, joy, suffering, the cross, and hope! Here on earth God is in charge, and I am in the best hands I can be: God’s infinitely provident and merciful hands.
A world without God? The world needs God: “A world without God is a world without hope.” Hope in a “kingdom of God” without God cannot but end in a “perverse end.” Without God, man can have no hope (Eph 2:12). Reason and faith need and help each other to grow and fully satisfy. Social structures are needed to help freedom, but they may marginalize it. Freedom, however, must be won continually “for the cause of good” (Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi).
How essential it is, then, to question ourselves: Who is God for me? Saint Catherine of Siena knew the answer well. God told her: “You need to know two things to be happy: Who are you, and who am I”, and added, I am He who is, you are she who is not.” God is the beginning, the way and the end of human life: “Thou have made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee” (St. Augustine). Indeed, for a believer “God alone suffices”(St. Teresa of Avila).
Every agent, Aristotle tells us, “Every agent acts for an end.” The human person, a moral and spiritual agent, acts for an ultimate end. St. Thomas Aquinas identifies ultimate end and happiness, and these two with God. Our beatitude is God: “All men are called to one and the same goal, namely, God himself” (GS, 22).
The human being is a creature and a child of God One and Triune: created by God, wounded by sin, redeemed by Christ, renewed by the Holy Spirit, called to heaven, to rise at the end from the dead, and live with God, and in the company of the saints, family and friends – and all.
The ultimate end of human life is a blessed life, complete happiness, that is, life in God. Our responsibility on earth is to give glory to God. The Christian gives glory to God through Jesus Christ: Through him and in him, all things were created (Col 1:15:16). Jesus, the Beatitude of God, proclaims to us the Beatitudes, which are forms of happiness here and the road to attain eternal happiness hereafter (see Mt 5:1-12).
I believe in God, in the God of Jesus Christ, who is the face of God on earth. I am a Christian, that is, a baptized person who is faithful to his/her baptism. A Christian is a person who knows God as Father, confesses Jesus Christ as Son of God and Man-for-others, and experiences the Holy Spirit, who tells him or her that Jesus is alive, that we are called to live in him, and that outside him there is only darkness (O. González de Cardedal).
God is Love and our human nature urges us to love, the love that redeems us. Certainly, “It is not science [with technology] that redeems man: man is redeemed by love,” by the unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus (Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi).