Question 016.  

Where should I look for God?

It is difficult to find Christ in the crowd.  Your mind needs a certain solitude, for it is only by this type of contemplative solitude that God is seen… purify the chamber of your heart.  Regardless of where you are, there pray, for he who dwells within, hears you.

from St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer by Fr. Ermatinger.


We look for the One who is beyond all things outside of us, but He is not to be found amongst others in the crowd, for He excels both the individual in the crowd and the crowd itself.  We might look to the heights – the mountains, the sky, the sun – or, perhaps to the expanse – the sea, the stars – as fitting places to find Him in order to worship Him there.  Yet, just because we might be there does not mean that He hears us better.  He is beyond all, yet imminent to all, so that such attempts to ascend to the Heights by physically locating to high places is but a vanity of ours; as if our actions could make God hear us or be close to us.  He already hears us and is close to us – we do not make Him do anything but rather He makes us that which we desire – if we but humble ourselves in obedience to Him.  The inner chamber of our heart is His, and it is for us to purify that which is His for Him by relying upon Him in prayer.  By this inner prayer, we eschew both the vanities of the world and the true and good things of this world that would distract our gaze from Him.  Through this inner prayer, a solitude is created so that, no matter where we might be in this world, He might be present within us in our hermitage.  Truly then we might pray without ceasing, without need of journeying to Him, but rather, through humility, be found by Him who deans to visit and dwell within His own creation.


A Hermit, Gerrit Dou, 1664