We come to know God by worshipping Him. We come to know ourselves by worshipping God.
Close your eyes. Consider God for a few minutes. Who do you say God is?
What do you call Him? God first revealed His Name to the ancient peoples under Moses; until then, the tribes had only referred to Him as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Moses wanted to know by what name God should be called when he talked to the Israelites [and Pharaoh]. God told Moses: “I Am Who Am”. Millenniums later, God would tell St. Catherine of Sienna: “I Am Who Am and you are she who is not.”
Some may presume that St. Catherine misheard God; especially, if they interpret the words to belittle or jab at Catherine’s lack of importance. But that was not God’s meaning to His beloved Catherine, Doctor of the Church. God merely revealed first to Moses and then to Catherine of Sienna and all of us, that He is the Unimaginable without beginning or end. He alone is Timeless. He alone creates something out of absolutely nothing. He is All powerful. He is all knowing and all loving and Almighty. And we are not those things. Neither are we God.
Thinking about God’s attributes for even one minute can begin to blow our minds! We simply can’t comprehend His ultimate mystery or mysteriousness or the depth and purity of His virtue! Our sense of God is limited by our own limitations; we are after all as limited as He is limit-less. Indeed we are the she-s and he-s who are not. God is eternal. He never changes; he has no ending or beginning. He is always! He is everything! All … “God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for he is our Father.” [CCC 268] “In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom and justice are all identical.” [CCC 271]
Failing to reveal God’s Truth to Catherine of Sienna or Moses would have belittled them. That would be tantamount to a parent telling his child that he or she is too young, too immature, too unknowing to understand what he [the adult] is talking about. Failing to reveal truth only emphasizes one’s assumption that another person is incapable of hearing or understanding large concepts. That is belittling. Revealing the Truth is God’s way; Catherine ably understood that she was not God - the Almighty Creator. She fully understood that she was not all good and all knowing and all merciful. She realized that she is not and will never be God. And so can we.
But we can also become more and more like God when we choose to worship God rightly. That choice will illuminate God to us! We will be struck with awe at the limitlessness nature of God. In turn, we will be able to admit that we are nothing without God. That understanding is neither belittling or undignified. Rightful worship allows us to be more fully aware of God’s mystery; while, mysteriously becoming more like Him.
Incredibly, we are made in the image and likeness of God. What does that mean? It means that we are made for virtue. It means we are capable of abandoning selfish interests for the sake of helping others. It means that we are able to turn away and repent of our sins. It means we can learn to put on holiness. It means that we are capable of arming ourselves with humility which in turn surrenders false pride and pretentiousness to holiness. It means we can seek Truthfulness and Justice. We are able to wrap ourselves with the cloak of Chastity and Modesty while casting aside lust and disgust for God’s Moral Laws. Worshipping God alone will open our eyes and hearts to an increased understanding of God’s Natural Laws. We can learn to put on patience when dealing with those who stoke our impatient natures. We are able to become merciful after learning to appreciate God’s infinite mercy. We can feel learn to understand God’s urgency to seek the lost and forgotten. Forgiveness is always possible when we praise God rightly. Obedience helps us seek God’s Wisdom and Knowledge as did the Wise Men.
Putting on virtue makes us come alive. The Church teaches us that the “true glory of God is man fully alive.” [CCC 294] So that’s how we give God right praise! By putting on virtues, we become more truly alive which gives glory to God!
Advent is intended to draw us closer to God. Let’s work at putting on virtue this Advent and throughout 2019! You might be interested in ordering the 2019 Book for All Seasons this Advent. It is a wonderful aid for each week of this new Liturgical year including the practice of selecting a virtue to work on each week of the year based on the Sunday readings.
Have a very blessed Advent; a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!