How do you determine what is real? It’s a simple question, but is there a quick or easy answer?
I received a coloring book for Christmas from some friends entitled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (they know me way too well). Besides the illustrations to color, this book has quotes for reflection. One of these got me pondering:
I am far more REAL than the world you can see, hear, and touch.
When I first read it, the correlation that came to mind was Bishop Barron referring to St. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on this topic: “God is the essence of being itself.” While that may answer the question of how can God be more real than the world around us, it doesn’t explain the impact of God being more real than the world around us.
As humans, we live our whole lives based on our encounters in the world with people, places, and things. In a way our lives are a response to our experiences. We are immersed in what we see, hear and touch. We use these senses to understand and react every second of every day. Our reality is based upon our understanding. So if God is more real than what we live every second of the day, what is reality? I’ve been thinking about this for a week now, and I’m not sure, beyond “God is being itself”, that there is a simple answer. But I think it is still a question that every person should ask themselves.
Since God created the world in which we are immersed, it does contain a reflection of Him. Perhaps reality is seeing the various facets of God in the things around us. Maybe it’s seeing the qualities of God in the world He created: the warmth of the sun, the strength of the mountains, and the cleansing of a rain shower. As we are created in God’s image and likeness, do we see Him in others that we encounter?
Perhaps the question to really ponder is: how real is God to you?