A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The Closeness of God – A Reflection

Fr Tony King sm

by Fr Tony King sm

An example to try and illustrate the closeness of God to us in His indwelling, and how dear this closeness is to us, even though it seems, and ever is, dark and not light.  Through God’s gift of grace and His presence we can get to know Him personally, not just know about Him.

In a country long-ravaged by war and turmoil but now more peaceful, there are many orphans, some greatly affected by war injuries, etc.  Some good people in other countries have been adopting these young, handicapped people.  One of these children is a 12 year-old girl, blinded and made rather deaf through an explosion; she has no arms.  Blind, deaf and without arms!  Very handicapped.

An agent in the country tells her of a very good and generous woman in Sydney who wants to adopt her and look after her, even though she is so handicapped.  The young girl finds it hard to believe that someone could be so generous, but the agent tells her more about the woman and other good things she has done. The girl gets to KNOW ABOUT the woman and is very interested in her, and agrees to go to Sydney and be adopted.

So the various papers are filled out and finally all the formalities are completed.  Then comes the great day when she is on board the plane, heading for Sydney.  And as she sits quietly, she THINKS ABOUT her benefactor.  She doesn’t yet know her personally, but she is closer to her and feels closer to her because now she is experiencing an effect of her goodness: being on the ‘plane bound for Sydney’ is due to the fact of that lady’s great generosity.  And the lady seems closer to her.

[We can get to know something about God and His goodness to us from all that He has made and from my own gift of life.  Such knowledge is valuable and sometimes it can be linked with or enriched by another knowledge - that is knowing God personally through love; but in itself it remains knowledge ABOUT GOD.]

The plane arrives at Sydney and the severely handicapped girl is taken by a hostess into a waiting room; she waits for her benefactor to arrive.

Then the door opens quietly and the woman is standing in the room; the girl can’t see her and didn’t hear anything, but she “senses” that the woman has come.  Now her knowledge of her friend is not only about her, but knowledge that she is there; in fact, she knows her there. There is a certain awareness of her presence and what that means.  However dark or obscure be that new knowledge, it is still very wonderful; it is a precious moment.

Then her benefactor walks across the room, touches her and very gently runs the fingers of her hand over the child’s face.  And through that so slight, gentle touch, even in the midst of her darkness, the girl knows that she is loved and knows personally the one who has chosen to love her.

She will not be able to see her benefactor and will not be able to embrace her in return; and sometimes she will yearn for that.  And the woman who has become her first friend will not always be holding her or caressing her; but the young girl knows- through and in their loving- the woman and her goodness, and rests and has comfort in that love-knowledge.

Just somewhat similarly with God and us – though God always is both so much closer to you than the woman could ever be to the child and also more hidden, but in the hidden-ness we can know God obscurely but richly as He is personally present to us in love.  And sometimes, too, God may run his fingers over our faces, so to speak, so that our faith in His love and presence will always be constant and strong.

Fr Tony King is a member of the Australian province of the Society of Mary currently living at Maryvale, Hunters Hill, Sydney. .


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