to ignore God

There is an old proverb first attributed to John Heywood in 1562 which states “Out of sight, out of mind.” It is a simple thing to ignore God.  He created us, gave us free will, and then stepped aside so that He might enjoy the show. God showed us all that He had created and gave us dominion over it. God is and never has been a nag or a scold. He has, for the most part, left us to our own devices. He placed us in charge of His creation, told us to take care of it, manage it, and to be good stewards of His bounty. But I’m sure that there have been moments when He has wondered whether He has perhaps made a serious mistake.

We lead busy lives and often we become so enamored with living that we forget to even acknowledge God’s presence. We forget to speak or listen to Him; we simply ignore Him. But God never gets too busy. God never ignores us nor does he forget us. But every now and then He gets tired of being ignored and forgotten and it is then that He steps into our lives in ways that are both unexpected and direct.

About a dozen years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with a family friend, someone whom I had not seen in nearly forty years. I had last seen Fr. John Pack when I was twelve years old. He was a young Korean priest who was a gifted pianist with a marvelous voice. A few years later Fr. John became a quadriplegic, the result of a diving accident. When he returned to my home town I felt compelled to see him again.

For much of the intervening years I had ignored God for I had far more important matters to attend. But God had grown tired of my recalcitrance; He took control and I had no choice but to meet Him head-on.

As you might well imagine, forty years will change the physical appearance of a small boy. Not only was I taller and heavier, I sported a beard and long hair. Yet, the moment I entered Fr. John’s room, he greeted me with a smile and called me by name. It was instant recognition. He knew me. He knew, before I ever uttered a word, all of me. And I knew that I was in the presence of more than a simple priest living in a broken body.

We never spoke of my lost faith; we only spoke of pleasant memories. As I prepared to leave, he gave me a book that he thought might “help me on my journey.” And so it did. But what I found within its pages failed to compare with the eyes that saw within my soul and the voice that spoke of forgiveness and love. I cannot prove it but I know it. God was there before me. I may have ignored Him for years but He was there, within my sight and will be forever in my mind. And all I felt was love.

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: 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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