"We cannot attain the presence of God because we're already totally in the presence of God. What's absent is awareness."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 8/30/16
Needless-to-say, I didn't learn this in my catechism class at St. Patrick's in 1961. We grew up believing in a more Santa Claus-type god who doled out treats or punishment based on our behavior, i.e. the size and quantity of our sins. Thanks be to God I have lived long enough to grow out of that! There is no "if" and "then" with God...no "If I do this, God will do that." God is not in my control like that! God always loves me, is present with me and nothing I can do or say will change that. Thinking about it with a bit more age and experience, especially experience as a parent, I can ask what would be in it for God to expect us to earn or work to attain God's free gifts of grace and salvation? Why would God want us to jump through hoops if God only and always just loves us? I think God only desires that we recognize how loved we truly are and realize we can extend that love to others, so they can bask in it too. One of my favorite Richard Rohr quotes is: "Quit knocking on the door, you are already inside!" Let's enjoy that today! Love, heidi