When I was about 12 years old I watched the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It was a movie about aliens and an attempt at communicating with them.  It turned out that these aliens were friendly and good willed.  However, before we came to that realization, there was the mystery of the unknown.

At times, the beginning of our communication with God can give us a similar impression.  It feels like communicating with an alien.  It may feel like we are in two different wavelengths.  As a teenager, I longed to communicate with God but I could not stand the silence.  I felt that I was speaking to a wall.  However, perseverance in the attempt to communicate brings about a response from him.  It may be in the manner lest expected.  It may be challenging.  We may be tempted to rationalize the experience and to explain it away.

A close encounter with the Lord is indispensable if we are going to grow in our spiritual life.  The relationship with God will be key because that’s what it is all about.  At the beginning of our journey this relationship is going to require effort from our part.  God resists the proud.  The proud tries to manipulate the loved one to get his way.  Let’s face it.  This is what we try to do with God as we begin our journey.  We want to find the trick to get the “genie” from the bottle to grant us the wishes we want.  God will resist this manipulation.  It is at the root of any witchcraft or sorcery.  A true love relationship will require some effort from our part.  It is the effort to recognize that he is The Lord and we are his creatures.  It is the effort to humble ourselves before him.  This effort is something God loves to see and will eventually help us by an increase of grace in our souls which in turn will purify our intentions towards him.

Secondly, as we become humble in our relationship with God we will be confident enough so as to ask for favors with a better disposition.  It is fine to ask for material things when we are in need.  However, what he most likes is that we ask for anything that will eventually lead to a greater union with him.  He will surely grant those prayers that manifest our desire to grow closer to him.

Finally, as we grow in our relationship with him, we will be able to enjoy his company.  He becomes the sweet guest of our soul who consoles us and refreshes us.  He becomes our delight.

Prayer is key to this relationship with God.  We will explore the journey of prayer in much greater detail in future insights.

Questions for pondering:

1. What do I ask the Lord for in my prayer?  Do I ask mainly for material things?  Do I ask for my well being?  Or do I ask for spiritual goods?

2. How trusting is my relationship with God?

3. Do I find rest and delight in prayer?

Fr Lino Otero, LC:  Originally from Nicaragua, my family moved to Miami, Florida when I was a teenager. Soon afterwards I experienced the call to serve God without reservations. Since then, I have had experience in hospital ministry, working as a middle school teacher, leading a parish school, organizing soccer tournaments for kids, starting a radio station, training priests in leadership formation, organizing a parish community from maintenance to mission, and much more. I love spiritual direction and preaching. Years of philosophy, psychology and theological training have enriched my personal life and have shaped my message of hope. For more go to linootero.me