Searching for God

I once heard a priest say that we do not really search for God because God is the One Who searches for us. That God always exerts an effort to find us and that it is up to us to just be open to God.

While I personally believe that such is true to a certain extent, I also would like to think that on our part, there must be some amount of effort to search as well. Jeremiah 29:12-14 states: “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord…”

During the recent Holy Week, I went on three half-day retreats at the Ateneo, from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday. Not being a graduate of the Ateneo, I was not very familiar with the campus. Being the parent of someone who studies in Ateneo, my familiarity with the place was limited to the Grade School, the High School, and the Church of the Gesu.

And so I set out early in the morning of Holy Thursday to find the Escaler Hall at the Science Education Complex where the retreat will be held. Prior to that, I had asked for directions over the phone and was given some general indication but in the end, the lady I was speaking with said: “There will be signs.”

I entered the Ateneo campus on Holy Thursday morning and asked the guards where the Escaler Hall was. His instruction was clear: First intersection, right. First entrance, right again. I followed the directions to the letter and found myself in a parking lot surrounded by several buildings. I parked my car and got off and started to explore the place. Prior to my entering the car park, by the way, I saw a teeny-tiny sign which said: This way to the retreat or something to that effect.

As I went around the building which later on I would find out to be Gonzaga Hall (if I remember correctly), I saw two other retreat participants who were also searching for the right place. The lady thought Gonzaga Hall was Escaler Hall already and the two of them (a lady and a gentleman) both did not see the sign at the entrance of the parking lot because it was, in fact, very small.

I finally saw an Ateneo staff working around the area and so I decided to get some help. I asked: “Kuya, saan po ang Escaler Hall?” (Kuya is a respectful term for elder brother. Saan po ang Escaler Hall means: Where is Escaler Hall?)

He replied: “Sa kabilang building po. (It’s in the other building) Doon po sa may vine. (The place where there is a vine.)”

I did not get the last part of his answer clearly enough and so I asked again: “Saan po? (Where is that?)”

He repeated: “Sa may vine.”

It was then that I understood what he meant. It’s where the vine is.

I turned to talk to the other retreat participants and told them what I was told. They didn’t follow right away so I went ahead.

As I was walking to the place for the retreat and as I saw the structure with the vines, I smiled to myself. I was thinking: “How symbolic. The place where we will have the retreat is where the vine is.”

I knew there was a message there. John 15:5 (TEV) states: “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I, in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

I thought to myself: Yes, Lord. The message is clear. Without you, I cannot do anything. You sent me here so that I will learn something that will make me bear fruit.

Searching for God takes effort on our part. While God seeks us out, we also need to find Him. In life, just like in my search for Escaler Hall, there can be little signs that guide us but if we are not attentive enough, we can miss them.

We also need help from others. We grow in faith and seek direction from others. And while we all journey to search for God, our paths are not exact, nor is the timing of our getting there. We have our own individual journeys. Each meaningful — for the person traveling that chosen road.

Sometimes, when we search for God, we feel lost and we are not sure if we are going in the right direction. At times, it can just take a single instance, a single sign, and we know, we have found Him. When that happens, we experience profound joy, relief, peace.

It is almost a week since Holy Week but more than a Holy Week, I wish you a holy life. May your days be filled with numerous opportunities to encounter the risen Lord. He is searching for you…but in His search, I feel that He is also longing to be found by your loving and determined heart.

May the joy and victory of Easter live in you always as you strive to bring the Lord’s light and love to others. For when people in need see the Lord through us, that is when we know that we have truly searched for God and have found Him.

2 Responses to “Searching for God”

  1. luzvimindarp says:

    Amen Sis. Angel (with no wings) you have just found God intimately. That is one way of communication God gives to those who seek Him. God bless you and your family.

  2. Angel says:

    Hi! Thanks for your comment, your kind words, and for dropping by the site. God bless you and your family also.

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