19950My Father's Soulful Response
- Apr 27, 2007When I was a child, I was an altarboy, and by 11 I wanted to be a
priest. However, when, at age 11, I sent away for and received the
papers to apply for a seminary, an inner voice told me that it was not
for me. Calmly, I tore the pages, with an inner feeling of certainty
One day, I asked my father: "Dad, when was God born?"
My father, very pleased that I had asked a spiritual question,
answered very peacefully: "My child, God was never born. God always was."
This seemed impossible to me. I could not fathom something or someone
without a beginning! So I said: "But dad, everything is born! How can
God be without being born?"
He smiled gently and repeated: "God always was and always will be. He
I spent days and weeks trying to imagine how God was born, how He came
into existence, for my feeble mind could not comprehend a being that
was not born. Surely God must have started being at some point!
So my imagination provided the solution! Of course! Since this whole
idea of God not being born sounded so magical, my mind's solution was
to imagine that one day a magician, who had a show by the side of the
road, pulled God out of a hat! Problem solved! God was born by magic!
Years later, I either heard or read the story about one of St.
Augustine's experiences. He was trying to understand God. Before he
had his spiritual experiences, St. Augustine was an agnostic! He kept
trying to understand God with his mind! So one day he is walking on
the beach, when he sees a little girl trying to fit the ocean into a
He approached her and said: "Oh girl, do not be foolish! Can you not
see that you cannot fit the ocean into a thimble? It is too small!"
The little girl responded: "In the same way, you cannot fit God into
your mind. It is too small!" And then the little girl disappeared.
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