MANY people often ask about how they would be able to know and love God. The question is understandable, since God is and will always be a mystery to us. No matter how much we try, we can never know and love him fully or enough.
And yet it is actually easy also to know and love him, for the simple reason that he is always around, and everything else in life somehow points us to him if we have the proper disposition or attitude. Besides, he is the most lovable being we can ever have since he is the fullness of goodness which is the reason for loving.
We just have to be wary of our tendency, often unexpressed, of wanting to dominate God by knowing and loving him in such a way that we could not know and love him more.
This danger comes about because of our tendency also to abuse our freedom. In so many words, we actually want to submit God to us or, worse, to be superior to God or even to replace him. We want to know and love him in a way that we cannot know and love him more.
We have to remember that the highest level we can attain in knowing and loving God is when we would finally be in heaven. There we would enjoy what is called as the beatific vision when, as St. John in first letter would describe, “we will be like him (Christ), for we will see him as he is.” (3,2)
But such state is a dynamic one, perpetuating itself for all eternity. It’s not static in such a way that we have already attained the highest level and that there could nothing higher anymore.
We just have to be contented with knowing and loving God in the many ordinary ways we have at hand. In fact, everything in our life, even our problems and the weaknesses, mistakes and sins that we commit, can and should be made use of to know and love God. All of these can be material and occasion for knowing and loving God.
We can know and love God simply by fulfilling the duties of our state in life and of the different positions we occupy in life. By obeying our lawful authorities, we are actually obeying God because any authority here on earth is always a participation of the authority of God. (cfr Rom 13,1-2)
And then we should try our best that all throughout the day, with our spirit of prayer and contemplation, we would somehow get to know what God is asking of us in a given moment.
We are already given some general ways of knowing and loving him. We have to get to know God through Christ in the Holy Spirit who now inspires the Church and the many instrumentalities in the Church.
We are told to follow his commandments which are already clearly articulated. We have to remember Christ’s words in this regard: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14,15) In short, we have to know as best as we can the will of God at every moment. We have to be discerning of the finer points of that will.
And so, as we are clearly told, we have to learn to pray without ceasing, to love our neighbor as Christ has loved us, to love even our enemies, to forgive others so that we may be forgiven also, to love the cross. We are told that we be productive and fruitful in life, making an accounting of what God has given us.
We have to give special or preferential treatment to the poor, because as Christ said, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25,40)
There are endless ways of knowing and loving God. We just have to do any of them, one at a time!