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Practising the Presence of God

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

We are always in the Presence of God whether we are conscious of it or not. It’s in our turning towards God that we become aware of his presence. How can we begin to become more aware of God’s presence in our lives?

Matthew 28:20: “And I will be with you always…”

Perhaps it’s a case of the more we practise, the easier it becomes. To become physically fit, we exercise. Frequent repetition of certain exercises creates muscle memory and eventually we can do these exercises without consciously thinking about them, they become easier as we become more fit. While your muscles themselves can’t actually remember anything, they are full of neurons attached to your nervous system that play a role in motor learning. Muscle memory can best be described as a type of movement with which the muscles become familiar over time.

As with physical exercise, we start building new practices slowly into our lives, introducing one or two into our day at a time.

Part of my own spiritual formation has been in Ignatian Spirituality. Finding God in all things is at the core of Ignatian Spirituality and is rooted in our growing awareness that God can found in everyone, in every place and in everything. When we learn to pay more attention to God, we become more thankful and reverent, and through this we become more devoted to God, more deeply in love with our Creator.

Recently I watched an inspiring video on Dewitt Jones, world-renowned National Geographic photographer. I was struck by his words: “creativity is simply just a moment when we look at the ordinary and can see the extraordinary. “

As you wake up in the morning spend a few minutes thinking about God looking at you as you begin your day, gazing upon you with love. You return that gaze. You are practicing the Presence of God.

If you wake up early enough, go outside where you can witness the sunrise. Sit or stand still and watch it. Notice what is happening in your body, your emotions, your thoughts. Turn to God.

Making a cup of coffee or tea can be a mindless activity or it can be a very special moment in your day. If you’ve ever had the privilege of being served tea in a Japanese tea ceremony you will know just how special this can be. At least once a day choose to have your own tea or coffee ceremony with God. Imagine that God has come to your house, or office to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with you. If you are at home, instead of popping a tea bag into a cup, set a tray, make your tea in a pot, sit quietly and sip it slowly in companiable silence with God. If you are at your office, go to some place where you can be alone with God for the length of time that it takes you to drink your coffee instead of sipping it while you work. Or you may want to enjoy a cup of Milo with God before going to bed so that you can look back over your day with him.

It’s September and although the early mornings and evenings are still cold, there is definitely a feeling of Spring in the air. Have you noticed the hints of green beginning to appear in the dull khaki grass and fields, the pink and white blossoms bursting out of their buds? Perhaps you could spend some time taking your ‘5 senses’ for a walk, feeling the warmth of the sun on your back, looking for signs of new green shoots standing proudly amongst the dull and crisp ones, perhaps reminding you of resurrection? Listen for the sounds around you, taste the dew resting on the blossoms. Smell the freshly cut grass. Notice what draws you to it. Spend time with it, wonder about it and speak to God about it.

Pick up a leaf or a rock and hold it in your hands. Feel its texture, look at the veins and colours, take special notice of how beautifully and wonderfully it was formed. Speak to it if you feel comfortable doing that, tell it how beautiful it is. Introduce yourself to it as a fellow creation.

Watch a bird in your garden as it forages for food or sand bathes. Follow the trail of a worm or an ant and wonder at how it was made and how it has a place in creation. Watch a bee as it takes pollen from a flower. Turn to God.

Wonder about the seasons. Using the seasons as a metaphor for your life, wonder about what season you are in. Speak to God about that.

Ask the car guard at the shopping centre his or her name and where they live.

In each of the above activities you have had an experience with God, a memory is built. So, for example when we smell coffee brewing in the future, you might think about God, watching the sunrise may remind you about God and blossoms and new growth will hold special memories for you.

Don’t miss out on the moments of life. The mystic and poet Rumi writes: “There are 100 messages from God in a minute."

You may have many other ways of practising the Presence of God – I’d love to hear about them.

When we say to God, “Our Father,” he has his ear right next to our lips. - St Andre Bessette


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