1. LOOKING FOR THE LIGHT Perhaps groping

Perhaps groping

1. The search for God is a deep experience that must be received, discerned and valued: “That who searches, finds” says Jesús (Mt 7, 8). That search is felt and sung by our poets: “All my heart, burning coal of man, useless without your love, empty without you, is seeking you at night. I feel that it is seeking you as a blind person that extends his hands, as he walks, full of plenitude and happiness”. (L. Panero) “Yesterday I dreamt that I was seeing/ God and that God was talking to me/ and I dreamt that God was hearing me…/ Then I dreamt that I was dreaming”. And also: “Last night I dreamt that I heard God shouting at me: Be alert! Afterwards God was the one who slept and I shouted: Wake up!” (A. Machado).

2. Nevertheless, it is frequently said: “To give sense to my life, I do not need God”. Behind this expression and other similar ones, we can discover the radical pretension of being as God, disregarding God, the original temptation of man: “You will be like gods, knowing the goodness and the evil” (Gn 3, 5). God has the habit of walking through human history garden, but the man hides, he believes that God is not interesting for his life: “There is no one looking for God”, says Saint Paul (Rm 3, 11). God´s original project of making of man and woman only one flesh is broken. Love’s relationship becomes a submission and control relationship. Fecundity is undertaken without excitement, like a weight, with pain (3, 16), Work is a heavy, thorny enslaving reality (3, 17- 19). Death is not any more a mere physical fact, a step, but something much more radical, the dust, annihilation of the existence (3, 19). It has been beautifully said: “He arrived with three wounds, / the one of love, / the one of death, / the one of life” (M. Hernandez).

3. For one who is seeking the light or who is looking for God, perhaps “groping in the dark” (Acts 17, 27), the answer is not in the clouds of theoretical reasoning. The answer is faith experience. Pope Paul VI says it: “Really, is there another way to communicate the Gospel than to communicate to others our own faith experience?” (EN 46). The Bible is not really a treaty about God, but a deep experience of God. It does not invite us to talk about God, but to listen when he talks, proclaiming his glory and sheltering his action. In this manner, to have faith is not merely to accept God´s existence, but to believe that God takes part in human history

4. In the Bible, main experience is this: God speaks in different ways (Hb 1.1) at the heart of events. In any human situation, personal, social or ecclesiastic, we can recognize the eloquent and significant action of God. God speaks God acts. The Word of God is a word that is fulfilled (Ez 12.28). That is why, to have faith is not yet to believe what we did not see, but to see what seems to be incredible. It is what is announced by St. Paul: “For I am doing a work in your days, a work that you would not believe even if one tells you” (Acts 13, 42).
5. Jesus mission is summed up in two constants: “The Kingdom of God is at hand”, “change your ways” (Mk 1, 15). For Jesus to evangelize is to sow the word, “the word of the Kingdom”: A sower went out to sow” (Mt 13, 3. 18). In the same manner, the Church, continuing Jesus mission, announces an alive and effective word (Hb 4, 12), not a man’s word, but the word of God that stays operational among you (1 Ts 2, 13), To carry on his mission, Jesus does not identify himself with any of the social and religious groups of his time: Sadducees, zealots, Pharisee, esenians, scribes. Jesus announces the good news to the poor, the crew subjugated by the powerful. Jesus teaching is not abstract: wherever there is oppression, there is a word of liberation. Like that day in the synagogue of Nazaret (Lk 4, 18 – 19). Jesus mission is carried out not only with words, but also with works. Jesus announces a word accompanied by signals and signs: he teaches and heals, says and makes. To John the Baptist’s disciples’ question, he answers with the language of facts, the signals of the Gospel (Mt 11, 5). What the one who is seeking needs it is a signal.
6. The Christian message announces not only God's experience but also Christ's experience. It is proclaimed by Peter on the Pentecost day: “God has constituted Lord and Christ to this Jesus to whom you have crucified” (Acts 2, 36). This is already the great event: a man crucified by the dubious justice of this world, has been constituted Lord of history: same as God! The Kingdom of God manifests in the person of Jesus (Dn 7, 14). The newborn Church has experience of it, since she knows Jesus through the multiple signs that appear like his Easter fruits. His Easter, his pass, has initiated for the whole world the dawn of a new day, that never will end.

7. The meeting with Christ means for Paul a deep change: “Once I found Christ, all those things that I might have considered as profit, I reckoned as loss” (Phil 3, 7). It is not a theoretical knowledge, it bursts into the life, it affects the whole person, even it irradiates in his face: “So, with unveiled faces, we all must reflect as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, while we are transformed into his likeness an experience his Glory more and more by the action of the Lord who is spirit” (2 Co 3, 18) There is a before and an afterwards, a pass from the old man to the new man, from shadows to light
8. The one who has this experience is a new creation, he already passé from the creation to the new creation: “since it was God himself who said: From the shadows may the light shine, he made the light to shine in our hearts, to irradiate the knowledge of the glory of God that is in Christ´s face” (2 Co 4, 6). It is the end of the search, the experience of the first disciples: “We found what we were looking for” (Jn 1, 45), we met Christ. “The old things passed away; everything is new” (2 Co 5, 17), our knowledge of God too: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt 11, 27).
9. Faith experience is something that matures little by little, by stages or phases. It is like a seed intended to grow. First it is sown, then it grows, finally it produces fruit. Usually, without being possible to determine before hand, development of faith takes time. In the first Christian community, catechesis goes after the baptism (Acts 2, 42). The abandons of the faith, because of persecutions and other problems, make understand the need to test more seriously the faith of those who want to become Christians. Thus appears in the initial centuries the catechumenate, with its discernment at the beginning and at the end.

10. In our country social and religious context, where many are the baptized but few the evangelized (we also are a mission’s country), the catechumenal process is, generally, post baptismal. The problem of the evangelization of those baptized is assumed by the Church after the Council with urgency character and with a catechumenal treatment, “under the modality of a catechumenate” (EN 44).
11. In a vital matter as faith is, personal experience is irreplaceable. This is the test that Paul applies to the Corinthians: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves: do you not realize that Jesus Christ is among you? (2 Co 13, 5). Then, we can ask ourselves: What does it mean for us to believe? Are we looking for it? Do we have faith experience? This facilitates to make us conscious of our own search for God, and to have a revision of our own religious level, a clear outline of faith as experience and to carry out a first sharing of our own faith experience.
* Dialogue: Are we searching?, do we have experience of faith?
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