Is It Natural to Desire God?

Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?

Archdiocese of Washington: Year of Faith series

Written by:

Dominican Brothers of the Province of St. Joseph

To outsiders, religious people can seem like entirely different kinds of people – a bit strange sometimes, fanatics to some, archaic at times, and a bit superstitious.

This is all to say that, to some people, religious beliefs are thought to work like emotions.  That is, sometimes you get sad, and sometimes you don’t.  Some days you feel this way, and some days you feel that way.  Some people are happy, and others aren’t.  They conclude: some people believe in God – this god or that god – and others don’t.  There are all sorts of opinions and all sorts of people.

However, the answer to today’s “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?” question clarifies the true nature of the desire that human beings have for God.

The reality is that all human beings have a natural desire for God.  The desire in our hearts for God does not come from any mere or passing conversation we might have with our friends, nor does this desire for God well up in our hearts principally from an inspiring book we’ve just read, or from a movie.  The desire that human beings can and do have for God is not like an emotion – it’s not a fleeting sensibility that some have and others don’t.  The desire for God is written into our very nature as human beings.  Every single person has it.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for”(CCC 27).

If we are honest with ourselves, we recognize that there is a hunger for the Truth deep in our hearts.  It is not just in some of us; it is deep in the heart of every human being.  It is our desire for the infinite, the perfect, and for Love itself.  We desire to experience the fullness to which we are called, but this fullness can only be fulfilled in God.

The Second Vatican Council said it this way: “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 19)

Love allows us to reach from the confines of our own limitations and connects us to its very source, who is God Himself.

Saint Augustine said it best: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord.”

Join us on November 29th for our next “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?” post.

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