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We Cannot See God, Because God Is Immense!

by Mgr. Luciano Alimandi


Mgr. Luciano Alimandi reflects on what it means to be a child before God and the power of a child's humility.

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Ave Maria

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Fides Service, Januray 10, 2008

A couple of days before the solemnity of Christmas, I had the joy of celebrating Mass with primary school children and their parents and teachers in preparation for the coming of Jesus. The experience of praying with children is always rich in joy and inspiration because as the Lord says in the Gospel, “for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” (Mk 10, 14). It is true wherever there are children, a little piece of heaven opens and a glimpse of the mystery of God is revealed.

I asked the children: “why do you think we cannot see God?” I wanted to know and to let the other adults know what would be their answers which do not come like ours from profound reasoning which often gets stuck in the swamps of probability, and never satisfy the human soul. One of the children replied with disarming simplicity: “We cannot see God, because God is immense!” Yes, we “grown ups” often forget that God is immense and we forget that we are not immense. How often you hear someone say, “if God exists why doesn't he show Himself?” How foolish is the man who thinks he can stand before God as his equal, almost to “judge him”, as if He were “one of us”!

Even nature around us should help us realize that anything which is really very small, is lost in front of something really large. Think of an ant, busy moving its burden of breadcrumbs from one place to another. We watch it as it travels its “miles” but the ant doesn't feel watched because it is so small its eyes cannot possibly capture our person. The relation between an ant and us is so disproportionate, that it is impossible to establish “visual contact”: our eyes can see the ant but the eyes of the ant cannot see us.

If we put ourselves in the place of the ant and God in our place — and this would be an enormous exaggeration because God is infinite and we are finite —, we see what the child meant: ““We cannot see God, because God is immense”! Yes, an ant, like man in front of God, cannot see what is immense even if it is in front of it!

That reply, so clear, led me to reflect once again on the extraordinary simplicity of a child, he has no need to reflect, he simply senses the profound truths of faith and with the immediate language typical of a child, explains them far better than we grow ups.

I often think that the words in the Gospel “'Let the little children come to me;”, can also mean that to convert the world the Lord wishes to have children with him. A child with the help of believing parents can become an exceptional apostle of the Kingdom. What a marvelous creature, the child must be if God became a child in order to convert mankind: “the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us”!

The child's strength lies in the transparency of the truth, the extraordinary simplicity and true humility. The child experiences that he is little and so has no difficulty in accepting help. But as he grows up, this becomes ever more difficult, even with regard to the Lord, because pride makes us feel “self-sufficient”. Instead the encounter with God begins with a simple statement: “I need you because without you I am nothing!” This is why Christmas, as the Gospel narrates, is celebrated only by the “poor in spirit”, like the shepherds who heed the angel's words and do not hesitate to hasten to the stable in Bethlehem to adore the Child. Others, like Herod, the high priests and scribes, although they know Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem (cfr. Mt 2, 1ss), do not go because they do not fee the need.

The Holy Father teaches us: “The little ones, the poor in spirit: they are the key figures of Christmas, in the past and in the present; they have always been the key figures of God’s history, the indefatigable builders of his Kingdom of justice, love and peace.” (Benedict XVI, Christmas message 25 December 2007). Self-sufficiency suffocates the child in us, it suffocates that spirit of real humility which is able to see the truth of the presence of God in the world and the disproportion which exists between a little ant and the immensity of God. May God help us to rediscover the beauty of the simplest and most essential truths of the Christian faith which render life authentic, untainted by a thousand of illusions of protagonism, individualism, absolutism and relativism, in the sense that we absolute the I and relativise God! (Agenzia Fides 9/1/2007; righe 51, parole 817)

© Agenzia Fides

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