If someone wants to seek and find God, how should one start? You can find a little guide here. There are nine practical approaches – you might want to try a few of them.

1. Interrupt

We often have busy days. Lots of encounters, phone calls, e-mails. It is a sign of sovereignty when we can interrupt the never-ending stream of small and large events. One begins by sitting quietly and paying attention to one’s breath. Then nothing. First three minutes, then five, that’s enough. If I want to experience God’s reality, it takes this first step.

2. Look back exactly on the day

God works through people. In the evening I look back on the day.

Whom did I meet? Where were my emotions? The “formula” for this shape of the evening prayer reads: event + reflection = experience.

Looking back over the day, we discover God’s traces in our lives.

3. Give thanks

Elias Canetti writes: “The hardest thing for those who do not believe in God: That they have no one to thank. You need more than you need for your misery a god for thanks.” Thank God for the good. But who exactly is my interlocutor? God himself is invisible. The image of the invisible God is Jesus of Nazareth. I talk to him – and that is what tradition calls “praying”. Praying means: speaking as you would with a friend. Thanking is the royal road to God.

4. “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen)

God likes to meet us in unexpected places. Especially when we are in trouble. Or when we notice that other people need our help. God is present there. We just have to look carefully. The light of Bethlehem – it can be found in a stable, rarely in a palace. Our commitment to others: we are very close to God as his co-workers.

One thing is so clear and noticeable to me as seldom:
God’s world is so full of him.
From every pore of things he gushes towards us, as it were.
But we are often blind.
We get stuck in the beautiful and the bad hours and do not experience them right through to the fountain point at which they flow out of God.
This applies to everything beautiful and also to misery.
In everything God wants to celebrate encounter and asks and wants the adoring, surrendering answer.
The only art and mandate is to turn these insights and graces into a permanent consciousness and a permanent attitude. Then life becomes free in the freedom we have often sought.

Father Alfred Delp SJ
November 17, 1944, from Berlin-Tegel prison

5. Read the Bible

A word of wisdom for today, for me. I can find this by reading the reading and the gospel of the day in the morning. Or meditate on a psalm.

It helps to have a small copy of the Psalms with you on the go.

Or download the app with the digital Book of Hours on your mobile phone.

This is how I learn to see the world through the eyes of Jesus.

6. Holy people

As a Christian, I want to become like Jesus: speak and think and act like him. What would Jesus do? This question helps. Many people followed in the footsteps of Jesus. Their life inspires me: Maria Magdalena, Franz and Franziska Jägerstätter, Alfred Delp SJ, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. With their help I recognize the presence of God in the world, especially in difficult situations.

7. Always have the rosary with you

I always have my little rosary with ten wooden beads with me. When I’m on the go, I pick it up. Nobody needs to see that. But I feel: I’m not traveling alone. The rosary helps me feel the presence of God. So I start talking to Jesus and telling him what’s going on with me right now. I close with “Hail Mary” – a prayer that addresses the two most important moments in life: “now” – and the hour of our death.

8. Cream slices

I like cream slices. I like it when the sun is shining. I like beautiful things, beautiful music, beautiful pictures and landscapes. God is present everywhere. If we can enjoy the beautiful side of life, then it is good for our soul. This is where God’s Spirit is at work.

9. A friendly face

When I meet friendly people, I meet God. It’s that simple. We humans are made in the image of God. God is good to us, he wants us to live. And that we show this kindness to others as well. Sometimes I have to remind myself: put on a friendly face, Christian!

These are ways to seek and find God in all things. The older I get, the more I notice: Not only am I looking for God, but God is looking for me, just as he is looking for Adam in Paradise: “Where are you?”

About the Author

Christian Marte SJ

Rector of the Jesuit College Innsbruck

Born 1964 in Feldkirch/Vorarlberg, Jesuit. He studied business administration, philosophy and theology in Innsbruck, Munich and London. He heads the Jesuit college in Innsbruck and is also the prison chaplain in Innsbruck.

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