Finding God in All Things
“Finding God in all things” is a phrase that summarizes Ignatian Spirituality.
This phrase invites a person to search for and find God in every circumstance of life, not just in explicitly religious situations or activities such as prayer. “Finding God in all things” implies that God is present everywhere and, though invisible, can be found in any and all of the creatures which God has made, principally because God desires to be known; the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus exemplifies this. All creation reveals at least a little of what its Maker is like – often by arousing wonder in those who are able to look with the “eyes of faith”. It is said that after a long day of work, Ignatius used to open the French windows in his room, step out onto a little balcony, look up at the stars and be carried out of himself into the greatness of God. Who among us has not had a similar experience when gazing at creation, witnessed the wonder of new life in our lives, or felt an overwhelming sense of joy, security, serenity and peace once we stopped and paid attention to the moments of our day?
This is what it means to”find God” and what leads us to share in the life that God so generously offers to us moment by moment.
So how does one grow in this ability to find God everywhere? Howard Gray, S.J. suggests the following ways:
1. PRACTICE ATTENTIVENESS to what is really there. Let that person or that poem or that social injustice or that scientific experiment become for you as genuinely itself as it can be. Take it as it is and its impact on your life and attitude, paying attention to the emotions that well-up as you reflect on the situation, conversation, experience.
2. Then REVERENCE what you see and hear and feel; appreciate it in its uniqueness. Before you judge or assess or respond, give yourself time to esteem and accept what is there in the other.
3. If you learn to be attentive and reverent, then you will FIND DEVOTION, the singularly moving way in which God works in that situation, revealing goodness and fragility, beauty and truth, pain and anguish, wisdom and ingenuity.
+ Eric J. Knapp, S.J.