Do you find God on your doorstep?

by Rev Joe Taylor


If you are anything like me, you may find connecting with God in nature easier. This is one of the reasons many people take regular spiritual retreats to spend time drawing near to God in an oft-secluded location.


The challenge is that there never seems to be enough time in the midst of our busy schedules to withdraw into nature as often as we would like.


Fortunately, we do not need to venture into the wilderness to connect deeply with God; several prayers can help us do this regardless of where we find ourselves. One that I have found particularly helpful in this regard is contemplative (or centring) prayer.


Reading Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird, O.S.A. recently, reminded me of contemplative prayer’s rich blessing. While those sacred moments in nature help us become more acutely aware of God’s presence, God is within us, and we can connect with God even in the middle of our busy, overly complicated lives.


Many of us enjoy being with God on the mountains and in nature because it is easier to empty our minds. We observe flowing streams, listen to chirping birds, smell sweetly-scented flowers, feel the gentle breeze on our skin and find it easy to disconnect from the many distractions and worries in our everyday lives.


When we go into nature to find God, it is not because God is “out there.” Instead, I believe being in nature helps us discover and acknowledge God, who is already within us.


“We can never get closer to God because God is already within us.” – James Blanchard Cisneros.


Often, when people claim to feel distant from God, they are feeling separated from their innermost self, where God resides. Therefore, the secret is learning to connect to God within your deepest being rather than running around trying to find God in the mountains, the next self-help book, or your favourite celebrity preacher’s next sermon.


The gift many of us seek “out there” is right on our doorstep. It is right inside the house with us!


“Why do we rush about… looking for God who is here at home with us, if all we want is to be with him?” – St. Augustine


The practice of contemplative prayer helps us to intentionally spend time in silence, becoming still and connecting with our innermost being – connecting with God.


While we can (and should) still enjoy the intentional times of connecting with God in nature, it can be refreshing to learn to connect with God in sacred moments throughout the day, right in the middle of a busy schedule.


“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there… For you created my inmost being.” – Psalm 138:7-8, 13


Join the Jesuit Institute South African and Karin  Seethaler to learn more about contemplative prayer starting 9 January 2024 (online). For more information

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