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Welcoming the Word: First Meditation
God Is Always Knocking at Our Door
- The Fact of This
- The Reason Behind This
- The Gift of Meaning
- Conclusion & Further Reflection
God Is Always Knocking: The Fact of This
God is always knocking at our door; he is always looking for a way to enter more deeply into our lives; he is always reaching out to us, invading our lives — so to speak — with the saving and redeeming power of his love. This is a fact that God has revealed to us in many, many ways.
He did it when he took the initiative to create us — he called the universe into being; he called each one of us into being.
He did it after Original Sin — he went looking for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; he searched them out.
He did it with Abraham and throughout the whole history of the Old Testament.
And he did it most wonderfully of all with the Incarnation of his Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the sending into the world of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
Here is how St. Luke begins his description of the Annunciation of this amazing event to Mary:
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth…
– Luke 1:26
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God”… This is how salvation happened: mankind didn’t climb up to heaven to steal it. No, God reached out — as he always does — to give it to us.
As St. John puts it in his Gospel:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
– John 3:16
God enters into our story, and he enters into our
lives: he is always looking for ways to come afresh, anew, more deeply. This is so central to God’s way of behaving towards us that the very first paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights it.
￼￼￼…at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.
– CCC 1
At every time and in every place, God is drawing close to us, calling out to us, approaching us; that means he is always thinking about us, loving us, valuing us, desiring us — each one of us.
And in the Youth Catechism, the YOUCAT, we find the same foundational idea described like this:
Anyone who wants to believe needs a heart that is ready to listen… In many ways God seeks contact with us. In every human encounter, in every moving experience
of nature, in every apparent coincidence, in every challenge, every suffering, there is a hidden message from God to us. He speaks even more clearly to us when he turns to us in his Word or in the voice of our conscience. He addresses us as friends.
– YOUCAT 20
God Is Always Knocking: The Reason Behind This
And yet, deep in the human heart there lurks a question about this amazing fact: Why? Why does God constantly try to draw closer to me, to attract my attention, to come into my life?
The answer to this question we find in the first words that the Archangel Gabriel addressed to Mary when he came to announce the good news of the Incarnation.
“Hail, favored one!” he exclaims, “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).
Mary is the “favored one,” the one whom God filled with his grace, the one who, in a sense, attracted God’s attention: she is the one whom God beheld and loved. And yet, Mary is in another sense an image of the Church and of every Christian.
The Church too is “highly favored” and filled with God’s grace; the Church too attracts the love of God and becomes the spouse of Christ. And every single Christian receives that same grace, the grace that filled the Blessed Virgin Mary, when we are baptized; God is attracted to us and comes to dwell in our souls and to embrace us.
Each one of us, truly, is “highly favored”: God beholds us, loves us, and is drawn to us. This is the reason he is always knocking at our door.
The French writer Julien Green put it like this:
You cannot imagine at all how much you interest God; he is interested in you as if there were no one else on earth.
– quoted, YOUCAT 43
And Pope Benedict XVI, in his first public homily as pope, expressed it like this:
We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.
This is what Mary experienced at the Annunciation. When she said yes to God’s invitation, she became a co-redeemer; she became a co-worker with God in the greatest project the universe has ever known: the salvation of fallen humanity.
She became a Christ-bearer; she brought God into the world. And that’s what we are too; Christ-bearers, co-workers in the salvation of the world. That’s what it means to be a Christian, to be a member of the Church: we share in the very mission of Jesus.
This mission isn’t a burden; God doesn’t give it to us to put pressure on us. No, it’s a gift; God calls us to be his witnesses in order to give us something to do with our lives that really matters, that has true, lasting meaning; something truly worthwhile to live and to die for. He knows that without this kind of transcendent purpose, we cannot truly be fulfilled.
Conclusion & Further Reflection
To experience this love of God and the deep meaning that it gives to our lives, we have to welcome the Word; we have to welcome God’s attempts to come into contact with us, just as Mary did.
Whenever God knocks on the door of our hearts, we have to open it and let the seeking Lord come in. How we can do that better and better will be the topic of the next meditation.
But for now, let’s take some time simply to savor this fact, that God is always seeking us out, wanting to enter into our lives, to shower his love on us, to give our lives deeper meaning. Let’s thank him for that.
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to convince us that it’s true — because it is: we are no farther from God’s heart than Nazareth was, and yet, he found his way there.
The Gift of Meaning
So God is always knocking at our door, in a sense, because he can’t help it: he is in love with us, and he longs to be with us. But his love is not a selfish love; his love is pure and life-giving, not corrupt and corrupting. And so, when he comes into our lives, he comes not to take, but to give.
And what does he give? He gives us what we long for more than anything: meaning. When God comes into our lives, he gives it meaning, he gives it purpose. And that’s what we need most.
We can endure any hardship if we know that it has meaning, that there is a worthwhile purpose behind
it. And when we let God into our lives, that’s what he brings.
– quoted, YOUCAT 43
He is constantly trying to find his way to us too. To help you savor this truth, you may find it useful to reflect on some of the following questions and scriptural quotations:
1 When have I experienced God making an Annunciation in my life? Remember, savor, and thank God for those times.
2 How deeply and firmly do I believe that God truly loves me and is interested in my life? What attitudes or fears tend to inhibit my acceptance of that truth?
How do you think Mary would describe the
3 meaning of her life after the Annunciation? How
would you describe the meaning of your life?
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
– 1 John 4:10, NABR
Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you…
– Isaiah 43:4, NABR
I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.
– Galatians 2:20, NABR
I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.
– Joshua 1:9, NABR
I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel with my eye upon you.
– Psalm 32:8, NABR