One of my daughters is turning into a teenager. She admitted that she sometimes has problems believing that God is present. She believes in God, just sometimes questions if God is present in her life. She said that this makes her worry that she is not a religious person.
I laughed and told her that doubt is the mark of the truly religious person. If you have faith without experiencing doubt at some point, then it is cheap faith, indeed. It hasn’t been bought at a high enough price from you.
I gave her a simple exercise to help, which I would like to share with you, if, like her, you are a person of faith who has doubt from time to time.
We were at Weston Priory, a Benedictine monastery, during our vacation this week in Vermont. Sitting in the chapel, waiting for Vespers (Evening Prayer) to begin, I asked her to repeatedly ask herself the same question as a mantra throughout the service and to answer it repeatedly for herself while we were there.
The exercise is:
Stop, be aware of the moment, and ask yourself, how is God making His/Her presence known in this precise moment? When distracted from that question, ask how God is present in the distraction, and thereby continue the cyclical process of asking and responding to the question.
After the service, I asked her how it went. She said that she was aware of God’s presence in the love shown by God for the Earth in a thunderstorm we had, in the loving hands of the brothers who were baking bread for their dinner, which smelled heavenly throughout the service, and in the love she felt from me and my wife.
I told her that, indeed, she was doing it right and letting go of the clutter in her mind and becoming aware of God’s presence in every moment, whether it be good, bad, or neutral.
How was I sure that she was aware of God’s presence? Because she felt God’s love.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” I John 4:16, NIV.
If you are a person of faith, may you find the same way or a similar way to walk, and thereby find peace.
If you are not a person of faith, ask yourself how meaning is found in every moment.
Peace be with you.