Our Catholic faith is not just a set of ideas, it’s a relationship. The Greatest Commandment Jesus gave is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. But St. Augustine said, “What is unknown cannot be loved.” Thus, in order to love God we must get to know Him.
How can you do that? Father Mark Baron, MIC stopped by The Inner Life® to discuss the attributes of God, and how praying with God’s attributes can help us to better know and love the Lord.
Fr. Baron explained that when St. Faustina expressed a desire to truly know God the Lord gave her the message, “Who God is in His essence no one will fathom, neither the mind of angels nor of man.” She was told, “Get to know God by contemplating His attributes.”
Attributes are qualities or features that are inherent in someone or something. They are part of the nature of something or someone. The words we use to define the attributes of God help us to understand who He is, and even what He is.
Offering an example of how praying the attributes of God can help us, Fr. Baron said, “One of the first attributes is the fact that God is self-existent. God doesn’t depend on anybody else for His existence. Because He is the Supreme Being He is just existence itself. The nature of God is to exist. I ponder that sometimes in my own reflection of God.”
“What that does for me is help to ground me in the fact that God is,” he explained. “God exists, number one, but that He is. He is the foundation of reality. What that does for me is it provides me a foundation or a sense of stability in His reality. Because we as creatures are limited beings. Because we’re limited we have an insecurity in us. We have to depend on other things for our survival. But to know that God is existence itself, the ground of our reality, has been helpful for me in giving me this sense of security in my life.”
Praying with God’s attributes can also help rid us of the false notions we have of God, and break down the barriers that are keeping us from a relationship with Him. For example, some people think of God as an angry, vengeful being. Someone to be obeyed out of fear, who will punish you if you step out of line. Pondering the fact that God is just can help free us from a false notion of a wrathful God.
Fr. Baron said, “His justice has to do with God ordering all things in a right way. And ordering things in such a way that everything God creates He creates in a proper order, and in doing that He gives everything its due. That is God’s justice. Sometimes people only think of God’s justice in terms of His punishing. But God only punishes for the sake of correction, to bring things back into right order.”
“When you understand these attributes, you acknowledge them, and you surrender to them – it’s kind of like a spiritual chiropractic adjustment,” he said. “You get yourself realigned to the truth of God and the truth of who you are as a creature. It allows us to be the creature and lets God be the Creator. In that humble alignment, it gives a great sense of security and foundation in our lives.”
Listen to the full conversation below: