Our Appetite for God
“….every part of us is, at its core, a desire for love’s fulfillment. Though we seldom recognise it, our senses seek the beauty, the sweetness, the good feelings of God. Our mind seeks the truth and wisdom of God. Our will seeks to live out the goodness, the righteousness of God. Our memory and imagination seek the justice and peace of God. In other words, we yearn for the attributes of God with every part of ourselves. Human beings are two-legged, walking, talking desires for God.”
This is a quote from Gerald May’s “Dark Night of the Soul”
Recognising our Appetite for God.
On reading the above I ask myself why, then, are we not more dedicated to the pursuit of this, the most powerful of all our desires and the only one which can lead us to entire satisfaction?
I sense that our spiritual appetite should be much more demanding, persistent and urgent than it is, like sexual desire, hunger and thirst. In May’s book he looks at two great saints, St. John of the Cross and Theresa of Avila who use just such metaphors to describe this, our most ultimate of all desires: so some human beings certainly experience this greatest of love-drives. So why not everyone?
God in all things, in you and in me.
The answer is most likely that we are all always immersed in this desire. It is constantly active in our very essence, in our hormones and the urges we feel, and in each and every and all of our passions and desires.
The answer probably lies in ourselves and, in particular, in our relentless seeking for love’s fulfilment in which and through which life itself begins and belongs.. We may need to ask how successful we are in pursuing this desire through our everyday hungers and thirsts and desires for union and intimacy, for here is certainly where we will encounter our deepest desire for love, for God. We will not experience this longing as a drive apart, but it will be recognised in the ferocious, niggling, persistent and daily urgings we feel within us: through these God speaks to us.
St. John and St. Theresa, like St Augustine before them and many others in Christianity’s mystical tradition have found after much searching that God is to be encountered, not as separate from ourselves but in our own being, indwelling as we dwell in Him: through an interior life of prayer ( see The Interior Life) εν Χριστώ.