Virtually every page of the Bible reflects God’s initiative, God’s invitation to us.  Our challenge is to recognize in the concrete circumstances of our daily lives the ways God is inviting us and to respond generously.

A sad truth is that we often fail to respond.  What is it that keeps us from responding as we should to God’s initiative, God’s invitation?  There are various obstacles that hinder or prevent us from encountering God and responding the way we should.  An obstacle we all must overcome is self-centeredness. The more we are wrapped up in ourselves, the more isolated we become from God and the less likely we are to encounter him in our lives. If we fail to encounter God how can we possible respond to his invitation?
We need to remind ourselves that the basic challenge in the spiritual life is to become less and less self-centered and more and more God-centered. Self-centeredness is closely aligned to sin.  We usually think of sin as an offense against God. Strict ly speaking, God is beyond being offended in the ordinary sense of the term. Perhaps it is more helpful to see as a barrier which we erect which makes it impossible to encounter God in a life-giving way.

Another obstacle to encountering God is carelessness, i.e. a lack of concern about whether or not we encounter God.  It consists in being oblivious to the possible ways of encountering God because we are preoccupied with so many other things.  We have no room, no opportunity to encounter God. We ignore God’s invitations.

The cathedral of Chartres is world-renowned for its architecture, the beauty of its design and marvelous workmanship. One of the carved stone figures high up in the arch of the cathedral depicts God holding Adam ever so tenderly in his lap.  Adam, however, is asleep with his chin on his chest and his legs and his arms drawn up close to his body, almost in a fetal position.  God is looking at Adam with deep care and compassion as though he longed for his grace to awaken Adam from his sleep and so aware of the one whose arms hold him and of how much he was being loved.

What a beautiful image   It suggests in a symbolic way the beautiful and consoling truth that God holds each and every one of us in a longing gaze, seeking to awaken us from our sleep of preoccupation and self-absorption so that we might encounter him and realize who it is that loves us.