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Lately, I have been thinking that we are rather discreet about God in our communities. Certainly, we are religious who are assiduous in prayer. We address God Father, Son and Spirit in the liturgy several times a day. I also believe that we are committed to maintaining our relationship with him in prayer and study. But in reality, the conversations we have are rarely about Him. Yet, like St. Augustine, we define ourselves as seekers of God: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and ourhearts are restless until they dwell in you.” To love God is to seek him. Why are we so secretive about our approach to the divine mystery? Are we afraid of being judged, or of being mocked? I must say that, for me, this silence is a nagging question.
We are in a world that wants to evacuate the presence of God. “Where is your God?” says the unbeliever in Psalm 42, over 2,000 years ago. Today, the question is still being asked forcefully. Certainly, many of our contemporaries do not believe orno longer believe in God. They have abandoned the Supreme Being who dominated the universe and who did not answer their questions: why evil and suffering, why injustice? They turned their backs on an impersonal God, who was conceived more as a power capable of responding to all their desires and needs than a God close to man in Jesus Christ.
God is the companion of our lives. I love Psalm 62, which puts on man’s lips this call: “God, you are my God; I seek you from the dawn; my soul thirsts for you.” The life of a religious has as its horizon this unceasing search for the God of love. We can meet him in Creation, in the splendors of the Universe, but we know that he is also present in the other, in the brothers and sisters who walk with us.
The secularized world can be an opportunity to go further in the search for God. I don’t think that the God of the Christian faith was easier to discover in times of Christiandom. There was certainly a religious environment that made the existenceof God seem self-evident, but are we sure that the world was evangelized in depth? Was the God who was worshipped and most often feared the God who was unveiled and revealed in Jesus Christ? Today, we have lost the crutches of a faith still carried by a certain culture; we must move forward resolutely in an adult faith capable of giving an account of its hope.
So let’s make our Assumptionist communities, but also our works, areopagi where we can speak of God in all serenity. God hidden, but also God who lets himself be found, as Blaise Pascal thought. I wish that we also have the capacity to manifest God through our daily lives. A smile, a forgiveness, a look of tenderness, a help given to the one who reaches out his hand, all this makes the God of our faith visible. To seek God is our vocation. For this, we have the treasure of the Church andof tradition. Let us take time to explore the riches of our charism. Let us look at how Emmanuel d’Alzon dedicated himself to the cause of God. When he spoke of “God’s rights”, he emphasized the primacy of these rights in order to live a life in conformity with our condition as sons in Jesus Christ. Yes, God has rights over us because he is our father and creator. I believe that the Assumption can go further in its quest for God. In a world where the futile and the ephemeral seem to triumph, we have a sure value: our faith in God.
P. Benoît Grière
Superior General of the Augustinians of the Assumption