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14

Part One

28

In many ways, throughout history down to the present

day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their

religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals,

meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression,

despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so

universal that one may well call man a

religious being

:

From one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the

whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and

the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that

they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and

find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.

For “in him we live and move and have our being.”

2

29

But this “intimate and vital bond of man to God”

(GS

19,1)

can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man.

3

Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the

world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of

this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers;

currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of

sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee

his call.

4

30

“Let the hearts of those who seek the

Lord

rejoice.”

5

Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call

every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this

search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound

will, “an upright heart,” as well as the witness of others who teach

him to seek God.

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your

power and your wisdom is without measure. And man, so

small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man,

though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of

sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite

everything, man, though but a small part of your creation,

wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight

in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our

heart is restless until it rests in you.

6

II.

W

ays of

C

oming

to

K

now

G

od

31

Created in God’s image and called to know and love him,

the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to

2

Acts

17:26-28.

3

GS

19 § 1.

4 Cf.

GS

19-21;

Mt

13:22;

Gen

3:8-10;

Jon

1:3.

5

Ps

105:3.

6 St. Augustine,

Conf.

1, 1, 1: PL 32, 659-661.

843, 2566

2095-2109

2123-2128

398

2567, 845

368