As we make our way through these weeks of ordinary time before Lent, here are a few steps that can help us draw closer to God.
- First, start by listening to him. Faith isn’t a 12-step action program. Nor is it an algebra problem that needs to be “solved.” It’s a love affair. As with a spouse, the most important thing we can do is to be present and listen. This requires the investment of time and focus. If a spirit of impatience or pretending to listen doesn’t work with your spouse, why would it work with God?
- Second, cultivate silence. We can’t listen when our world is filled with noise and
toys. C.S. Lewis often said that noise is the music of hell. Our toys – those things we choose to distract us – keep us diverted from focusing on the main questions of life: Why are we here? What does my life mean? Is there a God, and if so, who is he, and what does he ask of me?
- Third, seek humility. Humility is to the spirit what material poverty is to the senses: the great purifier. Humility is the beginning of sanity. We can’t really see – much less love – anyone or anything else when the self is in the way. When we finally, really believe in our own sinfulness and unimportance, many other things become possible: repentance; mercy, patience, forgiveness of others. These virtues are the foundation stones of that other great Christian virtue: justice. No justice is ever possible in a spider’s web of mutual anger, recrimination and hurt pride.