I recently read a book by Cardinal Robert Sarah entitled, “God or Nothing.” It is an interview with the cardinal about faith. What attracted me to read this book was the poignancy of the title: God or nothing and in that title I found what I believe ought to be the attitude of every Catholic. During my time at Nativity of Mary, I hope that you have heard a theme running through my homilies. No, I’m not talking about White Castle or hockey, but rather, I hope that you have heard the theme that God is real and that you must have a living, breathing, growing relationship with God because this is all that there truly is for us as human beings.
When you were created, the very purpose of your life was to have this active and loving relationship with the God who created you. All of the other activities that we have are subordinate to the relationship that we build with God. All the other relationships that we form in life are subordinate to our relationship with God. All the other projects, goals, desires, successes, failures are subordinate to our relationship with God. Because when we depart from this earth, it will only be our relationship with God that will be carried into eternity and give us hope of eternal life as opposed to eternal damnation.
Continuously build your relationship with God through prayer. Cardinal Sarah said in his interview book, “The most important moments in life are the hours of prayer and adoration. They give birth to a human being, fashion our true identity; they root our existence in mystery.” I agree with this quote entirely. It is only through prayer that our relationship with God is built. That is why we must pray at mass, not merely “attend” mass. That is why we must pray the Bible, not just merely “read” it. That is why we must pray in our service to other people, not just merely “give” to them. Everything we do and everything we are can and ought to be a prayer to God.
To live the Catholic life is a challenge, both externally and internally. We are all tempted, on a daily basis to put something, anything ahead of our relationship with God. Sometimes these are even good and noble things, but they are still not God. And this quote from Cardinal Sarah responds so beautifully to these temptations: “The only way to win this great combat is union with God. Christians will never succeed in overcoming the challenges of the world by appealing to political tools, human rights, or respect for religious liberty. The only true trick for the baptized is prayer and the encounter with Jesus Christ.”
So let us all recognize the reality of our human life as being made for a union with God. And let us truly live what we believe: It is God or nothing.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte