Inspired by an old love song, The Nearness of You, this essay seeks to encourage all of us to develop a strong, deep sense of the nearness of God in our life. Like in that love song, it should not just be the “pale moon” that should excite us, nor some “sweet conversation” with a special someone that would give us a loving sensation. It should rather be the nearness of God that should elicit all those effects in us.
It’s important that our relation with God should be the strongest, the deepest and the most abiding and enduring among all the relationships we can have in this life. Short of that, let’s be convinced that we are not living our life as we should. We would be missing the most essential part of our life in spite of having many good and meaningful relationships we can have with others.
Our relationship with God should be such that it goes all the way to our feelings. It should not just be something spiritual or intellectual or theoretical. It has to be felt. In fact, it should arouse the most intense feelings in us.
Our relationship with God should involve our whole being—of course, in the proper order of the different aspects of our life, with the spiritual and supernatural given priority over the material and natural.
We should, however, understand that the priority we give to the spiritual and supernatural should never downplay the important role of the material and natural, since the spiritual and the supernatural cannot develop if the material and natural is compromised.
To develop this kind of relationship with God, we certainly need to continually ask for God’s grace accompanied always with the appropriate effort on our part. We need to pray, we need to know more and more about Christ who is the model, “the way, the truth and the life” for us in this regard. We need to develop the appropriate virtues and practices of piety.
It’s clear that to develop this kind of relationship with God is like an acquired taste. It’s not an innate taste, given the discrepancy between our nature and the supernatural life we are meant to share with God if we truly love him. This is not to mention that aside from the objective discrepancy, we have to contend with the effects of our sinfulness that make things even worse.
But it’s always possible to have that acquired taste for an abidingly loving relationship with God. The saints have proven that beyond doubt. And our Christian faith reassures us that we already are given all the appropriate means for us, all of us, to develop that acquired taste.
We have Christ himself who makes himself totally available to us through the different means: the Church herself with all her instrumentalities, especially the sacraments. We should just activate and enliven our faith, nourishing it with the many practices of piety that are all there for the picking.
Thus, we should continually ask ourselves if we are giving due attention to this need to develop a vibrant life of piety to such an extent that we would truly feel the nearness of God in everything that we get involved in.
It’s that nearness of God that should fill us with most intense feeling of love when we would be willing to do anything, including offering our life, out of love!*