Someone once asked me how many languages God speaks. I quickly realized that the person needed a fundamental answer. Of course, God speaks all languages.
It is better to think of God as communicating, which opens up many more possibilities. We humans communicate with more than words. In our human nature, we can communicate with a glance, a smile, a chuckle, and so many more ways. Think of a mother who communicates with her newborn infant. She does that by a kiss, a caress of her infant in her arms, a tender stroke, or even by humming.
We know that infants who don’t receive this kind communication often miss an essential part in their emotional development. It has been proven that such communication stimulates key hormones in the infant that aids in emotional growth. Just think of animals that lick their offspring when they are just born. They are doing more than cleaning them up.
We humans cannot exist without relationships. The need for communication is part of our very human nature. Having said that about humans, and defining God as love, we understand that God is the infinite communicator. His very act of creation is an act of communicating his love to all he creates, but especially to us who are blessed with intelligence and free will.
No Language Is Foreign to God
But we should not restrict God’s communication. God can and does communicate in ways we can’t imagine. If a mother can communicate to her infant, would we ever say that God does not? God is in communication with us by his very presence. It may well be an inspiration or a thought that comes to mind. It may be an impulse to do something good for another.
People who think God is “somewhere up there” have a misunderstanding of the reality of God’s presence. God is infinitely concerned and connected with all of us. There is never a moment when we walk alone. God is always present to us.
As I mentioned in my previous E-spiration, I was chaplain for 11 years at a large retirement and nursing facility. I would visit our nursing home and Alzheimer’s unit. To my own perception, many of these people were unable to communicate to staff or to one another. But at the same time, I was convinced that God was as close to each of them as he was to the rest of us. That’s why I think God knows all languages. I consoled many families with that thought and they realized that their loved ones were never alone or without the presence of God.
Dear Friar Jeremy: Thank you for sharing your desire to love as Jesus would. It is so difficult to follow the wondrous deeds of St. Francis, but I pray that somehow I can continue my journey with the grace of the Holy Spirit and truly love my brothers and sisters. James
A: Dear James: Thanks for writing and sharing. It seems to me you are doing well in loving like Jesus and in following Francis. I am inspired by your attitude and insights. You are humble, but have faith in the grace that supports you. Peace! Friar Jeremy
Dear Friar Jeremy: Thank you for your E-spiration and the inspired art by Larry Zink. He has captured so much of the mystery of Francis: the joy and pain, the humility and gratitude, the simplicity and complexity, the wholeness and brokenness, the vulnerability and the courage, the obvious and the hidden—and so much more! Susie
A: Dear Susie: I agree that the inspired art by Larry Zink captured the mystery of Francis. I did not chose it. Editor Christopher Heffron gets the credit. One of the blessings of my life was to work with Larry Zink for many years. Did you know him? Your words also captured the mystery of Francis! The contrasts you give are profound. Francis was a man of simplicity, but rich in relationships and love. Thanks for sharing your insights and love for St. Francis! Peace! Friar Jeremy