Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Blog # 161 God in the dictionary
Blog # 161 God in the Dictionary A couple of weeks ago I was reflecting upon the first words of the Apostles'Creed which we traditionally use as we begin to pray the Rosary: "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth...". I let myself wonder whether the word God was in the dictionary. With hundreds of thousands of other words in my dictionary I should have expected that God would be among them but as I reflected opon it I hoped that was not the case. Why would I as a Catholic priest hope the word God would not be included with the other multitude of words the dictionary contained? Simply because a dictionary gives not only the correct spellingof the words it contains but also the correct meaning or DEFINITION of the words. And the word definition, together with words such as final, finite, finish line, and define all come from the Latin root finis or END. In our finite natural human limited capacity we cannot fully understand or even adequately imagine what it means to be absolutely unlimited. As a result we can appreciate what it means for us to recognize the fact we cannot define God. Any effort on our part to do so would be an attempt to place a limitation, boundary or conclusion upon God all of which would be a denial of God rather than a definition of God. When I went to the dictionary to check upon whether the word God was there I changed my mind about whether or not this was what I now would have hoped for. Now I want it to be there. This gives us an opportunity to examine and clarify our notions about God. After three definitions of false gods the God I recognize love and adore is found in 'definition' #4: "in monotheistic religions, the creatior and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing; Supreme Being;Almighty. These words each in its own way say God is without limits and therefore cannot be defined. That sounds just what I learned about God back in 1933 from Sister Christina Marie in the first grade of St. Thomas the Apostle school, Queens, N Y. I still do not know all that it means, but I believe it and find it a good guide in helping me appreciate and live out the Commandment Jesus gave as the first and the greatest, that I should love God above and in all that I love.