Question 4: When have you found God in all things?
by Tim Muldoon
In his magnificent book The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky introduces us to a lady of little faith, Madame Hohlakov, a wealthy woman who confesses to fearing what happens after death. The wise elder, Father Zosima, speaks to her of the need to press on in love, laboring with courage even in the face of despair.
Upon reading the novel as a sophomore in college, I was struck at the power of his words. Now, some twenty-five years later, I am no less struck. In essence, he says to Madame Hohlakov, “Don’t seek God out there in abstractions. Seek Him in the hard work of loving those immediately around you.”
The most lasting fruit of my experience of the Spiritual Exercises is the practice of seeking God all around me, especially in my family life. Through my family, I see God laboring in the world in love, and I am inspired to labor with Him. I don’t always succeed, but thankfully the people I love show me new things and help me remember. To find God in all things is to recall that all things give me an opportunity to love, and to discover that God is there laboring with me.
Sometimes I too am a person of little faith, at least in my actions. But my wise elder, Ignatius, reminds me that “love is shown more in deeds than in words.”
Tim Muldoon is the author of Longing to Love and The Ignatian Workout, as well as many essays. He was the inaugural director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College, where he now serves in the Office of University Mission and Ministry and teaches in the Honors Program. He, his wife, and their children live west of Boston.