Abbey of the Genesee
Recently I came back from a retreat with the Trappist Monks. For me, spending time with them is spiritually renewing. There’s plenty of time to read, to think, to pray and . . . to be quiet.
The former abbot, Fr. John Eudes, gave us a series of talks during the week. He is definitely one of the most intelligent men that I have ever met. In the course of the talks he showed a proficiency in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, theology, Sacred Scripture, various complex sciences, philosophy, history and other general information. He is a medical doctor, a psychiatrist. And he is quite sharp—even at 85!
It was not necessarily what he said that impressed me the most. It was more awe at his commitment to serve the Lord as a monk for over 62 years! And now he is a hermit, living alone, seeking God in the woods of upstate New York.
What leads him—leads us—to seek God?
I remember what one of my seminary professors once taught: we are wired to seek God.
From our very early days we question things: Why? What’s that? What are you doing? Where are you going? We want to know things. We want information. We seek knowledge.
At the same time, we pursue things in life that seem to bring us happiness. We desire friendship. We want to be intimate with others. We long to be loved and to love.
We are wired so that our intellect seeks knowledge and our free will chooses love.
Where do we find something or, better yet, someone who has the fullness of knowledge and love—who is all-knowing and all-loving?
If you choose God—then you choose correctly!
St. Augustine said this many years ago and it still rings true: “Thou hast made us for Thyself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
Whether we think about it or not, we all go about life searching for something or someone to fill a void, an emptiness in us. A lot of things that may appear “good” and may temporarily bring us pleasure, don’t satisfy completely or totally in the end. We still carry about an emptiness longing to be filled.
And so we will go on searching . . . searching . . . searching . . .
. . . until we one day find . . .
. . . and are satisfied completely and totally . . .
. . . by God!
Fr. Ed Namiotka
(Retired Abbot) Fr. John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO