The following words are from a recent interview I read (in as issue of “What is Enlightenment?” magazine) with a theology professor named John Haught. His language is more philosophical than I usually deal with and may feel awkward to some, but his words may deepen the reverence we have for the One whom we worship and to whom we offer everything.
Sometimes people ask, “What is the evidence that the infinite exists?” For Augustine and many religious people throughout the ages, the best evidence is the utter restlessness of the human heart. You could extend that also to the restlessness of the intellect itself. We all realize that no matter how much we know, there is yet more to be known; we all realize that no matter how much we get in life, how much we have, how much we possess, we are never fully filled up by it. So there is, in a sense, a God-shaped hole at the heart of our being. That’s what Augustine was saying—our hearts are restless until we rest in the infinite.
Now the way we become aware of the infinite is not so much by knowing it as by allowing ourselves to be grasped by it. This often happens without people realizing it. For example, even a scientist is grasped by the value of the truth and surrenders his or her life to the pursuit of that truth. Whether they say so explicitly or not, I think many scientists, if not most, have made a commitment to something much larger than themselves that is inexhaustible. They realize that no matter how much they probe, the horizons will keep on receding. I associate that very closely with what theology refers to as religious experience. So we come in contact with this infinite horizon—which Augustine referred to as God—in very subtle ways that oftentimes we are not aware of. Religion simply tries to make us more explicitly aware of, and especially grateful to, that horizon of depth, that horizon of an infinite future, a horizon of infinite beauty and truth that keeps calling us, that keeps addressing us, that keeps summoning us. And in doing so, it gives us vitality, life, and meaning.
That’s a lot of lingo. What do I take from it?
Only God brings peace.
Allow Him to grasp me.
March towards the infinite horizon.
I like that.