God of the Intellect, God of the Heart

God of the Intellect, God of the Heart August 29, 2017
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Growing up, my religious education was limited to an hour each week in Sunday school, being drilled in answers to questions in the Catholic catechism. I remember most vividly the one that says,  “We must love God with our whole body, our whole mind and our whole soul.”

I loved my family;  I loved my dog, Whitey and my cat, Charcoal;  I loved my aunt’s cherry tree, where I perched on its branches and gorged myself on its sweet fruit.  I loved the place we called “Robinhood,” where we played kickball in the meadow, and a stream ran through it, where I floated on an inner tube on hot summer afternoons.  Then at 16, I fell in love and that awakened me to the fact that life is a journey of not only love, but loss as well.

And thus as I matured I began to struggle with my obligation to love God with my whole body, my whole mind, and my whole soul.  It bothered me that I did not feel that I loved God like I was supposed to.  I had no trouble praying to Mary and Jesus, and when I think about it,  that is probably because they lived and I could relate to them as PEOPLE.  But God??   Our Father who art in heaven??  I pondered and worried about that my whole life. And trust me, at my elderly age that’s a long time!

Now as I carefully read through Fr. Seán O’Laoire’s  “Eucharistic Prayer of the Cosmos” which we read every Sunday during the liturgy at Companions on the Journey, I notice that we HONOR God, PRAISE God and ask for AWAKENING.  Nowhere do we say we LOVE God.  I found this curious.  Yet we say that God is LOVE…

Then another tenant from the Catechism came to mind: we are made in the image and likeness of God.  And so I connected the dots with our obligation to love God, and therein lay the solution to MY problem.

I figure that since God is love and is in and around us, having made us in his own image and likeness, and because I love all the things in God’s creation which are in and around me, then I can truly say that I do LOVE God.

I guess for some it’s a simple concept, but it was long in coming to MY doubting and questioning mind.  I am not without “heart,” but I am ruled by my intellect – and God is not in the intellect.  God is in the heart.

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