It seems the older I get, the more I long for a relationship with God that I do not yet have, an intimacy so close that I can sense Him take me in His arms, sit me on His lap, and let me rest against His chest.
In the last lesson we looked at a few (what I call) criteria for learning to know God. Criteria is probably not a good word, since, as the Psalmist recognized, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127). Thus, it is not necessarily what we do that grows our intimacy with God, but rather what He does in us and for us.
In other words, we are completely dependant on God's grace. But, the word criteria works well enough for our purposes, so let's keep it.
Another criteria not mentioned in the last lesson is time -- time spent alone with God. It should not surprise us that our ability to know God is directly related to the amount of time we spend with Him. Consider how often the Master made time to be alone with His Father (for example, here, here and here), and how often Scripture enjoins us to get alone with God, (for example, here, here, and here ).
In 2007 I wrote the following reflection about spending time with God. I published the piece in my second book, and reprint it here because it illustrates the point I am trying to make.
Deepest communion with God is beyond words, on the other side of silence. – Madeleine L'Engle
I hadn’t slept well the night before, and weariness settled over me like a heavy rug. Nancy and I returned home from Mass, ate lunch, and were unwinding on the couch where she continued our conversation about her passion for art. But I couldn't keep my mind from drifting. As it did, my eyes focused on her face.
– Robert Murray M’Cheyne