April 30, 2023 Essay: Where Do You “Find” God in All Things?
As part of my weekly Ignatian Parents book club, sponsored by neighboring Regis High School, I have been pondering and reflecting on the Ignatian concept of “finding God in all things.” It really is an interesting part of my spiritual journeying, perhaps sparked partly by some recent health challenges. While the book we are exploring is mainly about “forgiveness” (The Jesuit Guide to Forgiveness: Ten Steps to Healing by Marina Berzins McCoy), other Ignatian concepts and themes have also come to the surface for me.
I would like to share some thoughts of truly finding God in all things—which turns out to be rather easy if you prepare yourself to just look at what is going on around you in a normal week. Because our life in NYC lately seems to have been so focused on what I will call the political and pandemic craziness, we can easily get distracted. We miss what is happening with and for us on a daily basis.
One suggestion I would like to make, in order to see where you can find God in all things for yourself, is to remove the news cycle for a week. Get rid of it from your sphere of reference (print and online, and TV). Believe it or not, that alone could be a significant reason why you get distracted and can’t find God in all (any!) things.
Next, take a walk with no destination in mind, just walk for 15 minutes aimlessly in terms of seeking a destination, but at the same time, with your eyes and ears open to what is happening around you. The last time I did this on my 15-block walk to my office, I saw a mother carrying her daughter’s purple backpack and skillfully maneuvering her daughter’s purple scooter on their way to school. The young girl, I think a kindergartener, was also wearing striped purple leggings and a purple hat. (I guess she likes purple—one of my favorite colors, too). They were talking to each other and laughing about something I couldn’t hear. But what I saw was an unmistakable love and awareness of each other on a busy Second Avenue stretch of about six blocks. It made me smile and think of our own 16-year-old twins. In that instant, I saw God working divine magic on that young girl and her mother and reminding me of our graces and gifts, too.
In general, I have come to think that finding God in all things is not as hard as it sounds because God is the source of all things and creator of all things, visible and invisible. So I would like to suggest that you can find him in familiar everyday things and in the people who are part of your everyday life. Sometimes you even find God in strangers like the mom and her daughter on the purple scooter, but you can find God just as easily in your own family, friends, and colleagues. Just look. I promise you’ll be surprised.
— Rich Miller-Murphy, Parishioner
Rich joined St. Ignatius Loyola Church in 2010 and is currently working towards his Master of Arts in Chaplaincy at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace (formerly Hartford Seminary).