Philosopher Jacques Maritain once said that the culmination of knowledge is not conceptual but experiential: I feel God. Such is the promise of the Scriptures: Be still and know (experience) that I am God.
My own journey bears witness to that. I mean simply that a living, loving God can and does make his presence felt, can and does speak to us in the silence of our hearts, can does warm and caress us till we no longer doubt that he is near, that he is here.
Such experience is pure grace to the poor, the children, and the sinners, the privileged types in the gospel of grace. It cannot be forced from God. He gives it freely, but he does give it, and has given it to such as Moses and Matthew, to Roslyn and me.
In fact, there is no one to whom God denies it. Ignatius of Loyola said, “The direct experience of God is grace indeed, and basically, there is no one to whom it is refused.”
In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us—that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything, and for whom God is enough. That is the root of peace.
When we start seeking something besides him, we lose it. As Thomas Merton said in the last public address before his death, “That is his call to us—simply to be people who are content to live close to him to renew that kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.”
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