THE UNBROKEN WORD
In the Baltimore and Penny Catechism, there is a fundamental question asked. Where is God? The answer, of course, is God is Everywhere. As a child, precocious as I was, I asked for further explanation, as my inquiring mind wanted to know why I could not see Him then.
Sr. Rosario responded eventually, trying to shut me up with some theology inexplicable to a six-year-old. “God is omnipresent!” Even though I did not understand the response of my sometimes friend, sometimes adversary Dominican educator, it stuck with me.
Over the years, I have come to love this word. It means the same thing as the simple response in those few words in the catechism, but even more. My first stop was my parents on my return home from school that day. My mother did not know what it meant. If my mom did not know something which was in the order of schooling, then I would not even bother to ask my dad. Unless I was looking for a good joke which displayed his ignorance on the subject in a humorous manner. So omnipresence would have to wait another day.
I don’t recall how long it took me to find a dictionary which explained the meaning, it was probably the Collins one which still has the following definition.
Something that is omnipresent is present everywhere or seems to be always present.
A more modern definition of the omnipresence of God reads:
Omnipresence means all-present. This term means that God is capable of being everywhere at the same time. It means his divine presence encompasses the whole of the universe. There is no location where he does not inhabit.
In retrospect, the second definition would have been more useful to me. However, the search for God was set in my little life, I just had to start noticing Him and He was sure to pop up somewhere. In fact, in my small but incisive mind, He was already there. After all, God is everywhere.
The invitation of the nun and the catechism fueled a lifelong search for God in all things. Now, as a Franciscan, I can detect His presence in the smallest places; the watering of a lawn on a warm summer morning; the smile of a friend; a voice on the phone of a friend separated by distance; in breaking bread with others.
And of course, in the Eucharist, the booster meal of our spiritual faith. Where all batteries are recharged with grace to face another week where we Find God In All Things.
Because God is omnipresent.
And thank you Sr. Rosario.
The Days End at Mater Dolorosa, California; my new home.