There were 3 rural parish priests who had a problem with birds nesting in the nooks and crannies of the ceilings of their churches. One had a shotgun and fired a few shots at the ceiling and they flew off, only to return soon after. The second rigged up a net and caught them, put the net in his truck, drove them 100 miles and released them and when he got back to his church they were already back. The last one had one of those high pressure car washing devices which he filled with Holy water and Baptised the whole flock; and never saw them again.
Many in the last few generations align to tradition without knowing why and maintain a skin deep relationship with the church and often no relationship at all with their God.
When I was taught about religion; it was by religious sisters, who could talk about hell with such clarity and detail that we all knew they had been born and raised there! I could probably pass a test on the Catechism but didn’t have a clue who God was really or how this could be a part of life beyond having to go to Mass on Sunday; and this unimpressive start was before sin entered the picture much.
Who God is and what He can be for a follower of His, is probably the best kept secret in the church and strangely religion often stands in the way of its discovery, distracts from the goal rather than leading to it. Grace has its own timing of course, but it’s seldom entirely independent. The catalyst is generally a witness, someone who does know God, who has experienced that touch of grace in a way which brought about a transformation in their lives and can then do the same for the listener. God is experiential, a theoretical one won’t captivate anyone, He is living and acts mightily in the here and now, not merely historically.
When someone opens their heart to God, in all sincerity, then it’s like being unplugged from the Matrix.., to suddenly see the world as it really is, who we are, and who God is. And then the journey begins together and we realize all He can be for us. The most beautiful thing to realize is that we are not alone. There is a good Father on whom we can rely entirely for everything we need; there is no need to be afraid of life anymore, you are in safe hands. But we must be intentional about seeking him out, trusting Him and being aligned with His Spirit through prayer.
How can the current or next generations ever know God unless there are authentic witnesses to tell them the church’s best kept secret?