From “God Is More Present Than You Think” Robert Ochs, SJ

This 1970 Paulist Press little book is rich in content.  (Selling for 75 cents at its publication, it is listed today at times for as much as $1050.00.)

Trinity Sunday is a good day to share a bit of Ochs’ reflection on God as present “in the things that are His will.”  As in any person-to-person interactions, God’s will is a self-revelation that asks something of the receiver:

One only gives oneself when one puts oneself where one can be accepted or rejected.

The paradigmatic instance of this is the declaration of love. It is remarkable that we call it a declaration, in that it asks for a return.  Bur calling it a declaration, instead of a request for a return of love, does have a logic to it which underscores the sheer powerlessness of the declaration.  In a sense, all the lover can do is declare his request.  A declaration of love is therefore more than a declaration; it is a demand.  And yet, in a real sense it remains only a declaration, because one does not dispose over the response of the other.

God’s revelation, even of his will, is more than that, and yet only that.

This reminds me powerfully of words I heard from the voice of the wonderful lover and disciple of Jesus, Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche Communities (  Vanier was interviewed in this week’s edition of On Being (  Asked what his vision of Jesus is now in his (Vanier’s) old age (he was 79 when interviewed and is now 86 years old), his first response was to reflect on the radical “vulnerability of God.”  God puts himself before us asking to be loved; not causing it, not insisting on it, but as a supplicant. Just as we do when we too, all our lives in ways big and small, quiet or shouting, ask to be loved.

Jean Vanier
Jean Vanier
Original 1970 Paulist Press cover.

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