GOD IS MISSING …. And We are Responsible

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By Fr Roderick Salazar SVD

So pours down the rain. 

Shyly, first. Silently. Steadily. Stealthily.
Then somehow feeling free, in torrents, with
lightning leaping, thunder clapping on this the
penultimate day of July.

Thankfully sheltered from the wetness, I think of
the many perhaps caught by the sudden storm,
I pray they find reprieve from inevitable flooding
and find welcome dryness soon.

O Lord of sun and rain, night and day protect us.
Make us feel Your loving Presence in the cold.

I remember the little tale when You were missed.

They were cute, the two brothers, 8 and 10 years
young but terribly naughty. Whatever went wrong
in the neighborhood, it nearly always turned out
they had a hand in it. Their parents were at their
wits’ end trying to control them. But after hearing
about a priest who worked with delinquent boys,
the parents decided to ask the priest to talk to
their sons.

The priest agreed, but said he wanted to see the
younger boy first alone. So the mother sent him
to the priest.

The priest sat the boy across from the huge,
impressive desk he sat behind. For about five
minutes, they just sat and stared at each other.
Finally, the priest pointed his forefinger at the boy
and asked, “WHERE IS GOD?”

The boy looked under the desk, in the corners of the
room, all around, but said nothing. Again, louder,
the priest pointed at the boy and asked, 
“WHERE IS GOD?” Again the boy looked around 
but said nothing. A third time, in a louder, firmer voice, 
the priest leaned far across the desk and put his finger
almost to the boy’s nose, asking “WHERE IS GOD?”

The boy panicked and ran all the way home.
Finding his older brother, he dragged him upstairs 
to their room and into the closet where they usually 
plotted their mischief, and quickly said,
“We are in big trouble.”

His brother asked, “What do you mean, big trouble?”

The younger boy replied, “GOD IS MISSING, 

God surely is NOT MISSING.
If you and I exist now, and the whole of creation
that is because GOD is present, alive.
Were He to even stop thinking of us, we would go
back to the nothingness from which we came.
God exists forever.

But we do not always FEEL His presence.
It is in this sense that God seems to be missing.
Even the holiest of saints sometimes had periods
when they, holy as they were, in the midst of prayer
or in the whole of their saintly lives, did not feel the
Presence of God. It is said of Mother Teresa that
she had long bouts of feeling God’s absence despite 
the wonderful things she was doing for the poor.
This period of emptiness and seeming nothingness is

There is another sense to the phrase “God is missing”.
It is to describe the inadequacy, the failure of people
like you and me who believe in God, who try the best
we can to follow His commandments, love our sisters
and brothers, rise from our sins – our inability to project
the holiness, joy, goodness, peace and love of God.

If we who proclaim to the world that God exists, that
we believe in Him, we who are in convents and churches,
who are generally law-abiding, prayerful and good,
do not show that we are a happy people, how can the
world and those who do not believe or who doubt in
the existence of God ever believe that He is alive?

If we who say we pray do not treat the least kindly and
justly, if we go around with sour faces and glum demeanors
with or without our hygienic masks, if we do not contribute
to making this world a happier place to live in, would not
our failure lead to the conclusion that “GOD IS MISSING”?
Today I pray that in whatever way I contribute to making 
God real in the world, that because of who I am and what
I do, how I behave, no one feels that God is missing. 

I know I am not God. But in Him, I can try to show Him
in my smile, in my kindness, in my humility, in my silence
when I want most to talk, in my talking when otherwise
fear keeps me from releasing the needed word.

Two poets lend me their gift as I pray.

Wendell Berry:

“I know that I have life
Only insofar as I have love.
I have not love
Except it comes from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry
This candle against the Wind.”

Pablo Neruda:

“Maybe nothingness 
is to be without your presence,
without your moving, 
slicing the moon like a blue flower,
without you walking later through the fog,
and the cobbles,
without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.

In short, without your presence,
without your coming
suddenly, excitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:
since then, I am because you are,
since then, you are, I am, we are,
and through love, 
I will be, you will be, we will be.”

If God is missing in the world today,
it is partly because of me, my failure.
I am responsible.
As responsible am i to make Him real.

Oh Lord, please help me show You are.

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