Where is God?
Has this question ever occurred to you? In the midst of daily life, have you ever looked up at the sky, and wondered… just how far away He really is?
St. John once wrote, “No man has ever seen God” (1 Jn 4:14). God, being both outside of and above all His creation, “transcends all creatures” (CCC #42) and “dwells in unapproachable light” (CCC #52). Not that He’s disinterestedly far off like a “Watchmaker God”, for He is intimately involved in the happenings of the world, constantly caring for, providing for, and shaping His creatures – but His dwelling place, as we say in the Lord’s Prayer, is “in Heaven.”
And yet at the same time, in a great divine paradox, God also exists physically, visibly, before us – here on Earth.
God, whom physical reality could never contain, put on our human nature and made Himself one of us. He once physically dwelled in a certain home in the small town of Nazareth, in Israel, one of the more remote outposts of the Roman Empire. And at the close of His public mission, about to ascend back into Heaven, He said to us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:20)
So, as we look about our own surroundings, let us ask again – where is God?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “‘Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,’ is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church’s prayer, ‘where two or three are gathered in my name,’ in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But ‘he is present … most especially in the Eucharistic species.’” (#1373)
It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking of God as an exclusively invisible presence – but we must not allow ourselves to be so blinded. As Christians, we believe in something far more outrageous! For in Christ, as the Catechism explains, God becomes visibly present in our own world. In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present to us in the flesh (Jn 6:51). He dwells in all the Tabernacles in the world, and He Himself waits for us to come receive Him, adore Him, and listen to Him, in this humble form. That said, He is also present to us in our everyday realities. He identifies Himself so closely with “the least of these my brethren,” (Mt 25:40) that, by a great mystery, “to love another person is to see the face of God.” (Les Miserables) Mother Teresa summarized these two places as: “Jesus in the Bread of Life and Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.” 1
Where is God? Before us, constantly before us, inviting us to respond to His humble, initiating, Eucharistic love by loving our neighbour “as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
- Mother Teresa, Where There Is Love, There Is God, (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2010), Ed. Brian Kolodiejchuk, p. 53
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