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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories ~ Spirituality & Our Life-long Quest

God, you are my God, I am seeking you,

my soul is thirsting for you,

my flesh is longing for you,… (Ps.63:1)

Somewhere deep in the human heart there lies an emptiness, a longing. We ask questions about life, about what it all means, about where we are going. Somehow, we and the thousands of generations that have gone before us are incomplete. We find a need that cannot be fulfilled and are ever in a state of “becoming”.

This longing leads to a search for something that completes our life and that is beyond our human experience, and yet it is part of our human experience. The quest to discover and acknowledge the source of this longing is part of every human heart. Each culture in its own way is on this quest and has its own way of expressing it and passing it on to the next generations.

The Catholic spiritual writer, Ron Rolheiser used the term “Holy Longing” to describe the quest. This search for something beyond us is our search for what some call GOD. Who is this God? What is this God like? Where do we find or encounter this God? Like every culture, we can say something about this experience as Christians living in the Catholic Tradition. What we can say comes out of our Scriptures and the spiritual tradition handed down to us. What has been handed on to us is intended to help us in our own “Holy Longing”, our own search.

For us, as Christians it begins with the common prayer given to us by Jesus and handed on to us in the Gospels, the Our Father. (Matt 6:7-13; Lk 11:2-4)

Our God is a life-giving God. This God loves us, and all the peoples of the earth without reservation or condition. No matter what happens, God will never cease loving us. God’s love is a free and unstinting gift, we do not win it and we cannot lose it. Time and again, our Scriptures and our Tradition tell us that this God is the perfect parent, the Father (Matt 6:7), the Mother (Is.49:14-5) who can never abandon or forget their child.

It was Jesus who revealed this God in Himself. To see God taking on our humanity and living in our midst in the person of Jesus is a statement of God’s love beyond words. In fact, all love, every experience of human love is in some way a reflection of God’s love for us. The way our Christian faith tells it, God loves first. We reflect that love in our lives with one another. It appears to us again and again in our faith story, our Scriptures.

My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who

loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have

known God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

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