and that is all we need to know

In describing how we can know how near we are to the Kingdom of God, Meister Eckhart tells us “If I were a king, and did not know it, I should not really be a king. But, if I were fully convinced that I was a king, and all of mankind coincided in my belief, and I knew that they shared my conviction, I should indeed be a king, and all the wealth of the king would be mine. But, if one of these three conditions were lacking, I should not really be a king.”

First Stars

First Stars

In other words, if I know at thing to be true and you also know the truth of it, and I know that you know it to be true then it must be true. But conversely if either I do not know a thing to be true or you do not know the truth of it or I do not know that you know it to be true then it must not be true.

While there is some obvious logic to this argument, it is not without its fault; for it presupposes that what we know and understand to be true is, in fact, the truth. If all know that a thing is true which is in fact false, then my awareness of your knowledge of the truth can never transform the falsity of it into the truth.

All this is in continuation of what I previously declared by stating that “I do not know God – but I know that God exists.”

There are many forms of knowing, many types of knowledge, and numerous definitions for the word. It is far too easy to miss the truth when your perception and acceptance of it comes from a different perspective or context.

One can say that ‘to know’ means ‘to perceive directly’ or to ‘to have a practical understanding of, as through experience; be skilled in’ and if that is your understanding of the term, then clearly, since “[n]o one has ever seen God” [1 Jn 4:12], no one can ‘know’ God.

Another use of the word, although archaic, is ‘to know someone in the conjugal sense’ and this most definitely does not apply to any knowledge of God.

No one truly ‘knows’ another, for no one can ‘know’ what lies within the heart of another. This applies whether someone is a complete stranger or a beloved spouse with whom you have spent a life-time ‘knowing’ one another. If you are incapable of ‘knowing’ someone whom you love, how can you ever assume that you could ‘know’ God? As you can never completely know your beloved, all the more so, you can never know God.  

There is yet another meaning for knowing that is of far greater import; and that is, as created beings, we cannot formulate or calculate who or what God is. No one can describe God’s appearance nor can He be measured or quantified, for God cannot be contained and confined within any theology or etymology. We can state, affirm, and prove that God does exist, but God is beyond our understanding, “God is great beyond our knowledge” [Job 36:26].

The truth is: to love God is to know God … and that is all we need to know.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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