The simple answer: God is.

Philosophical answer: God is One. 

Theological answer: God is One essence and Three Persons. 

Biblical Answer: God is love.

Catholic schools have not failed in teaching us about the attributes of God. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal Creator. However, from this description, young people often look at God as a superhero type figure. While this may be the easiest analogy for a grade school youth to understand, it can often lead to foundational misconceptions. This especially occurs, if the understanding of God does not advance with the growing comprehension of a developing young mind. 

Superheroes are given attributes that are typically an improvement upon human weakness (super strength, flying, teleportation.) While God does have the ability to do supernatural things, God is something infinitely more than the perfection of human limitations. He is not to be seen as the strongest, fastest, most beautiful person on this Earth. He is outside of that. It is from Him that from which the form of all good things flow. 

In addition, Superheroes are typically only focused on rectifying material issues within our world (stopping disaster, fighting super villains, etc). As a result, we tend to see God in this light as well. Couple this understanding with an incomplete definition of love as ‘pleasure I feel when something makes me happy,’ and you have a bunch of confused young men and women who believe that God is something like a wish granting genie who gives me what I want if I do what God wants. As young people get older, encounter hardship, and do not receive the answers they want to their prayers, it is easy to see why we are in the state of over 80% of young people never returning after young adulthood to the Catholic Church. 

God is not practically real to most young people. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is that they are often not given the correct lens in which to view God. In the home, from the pulpit, and in schools, there must be an emphasis first and foremost on the mystery of God, and that it is completely fine to let God exist in mystery in our minds. Yes, St. Thomas Aquinas gives us attributes of God, and this is how we can relate to Him. But hundreds of years earlier St. Augustine famously said ‘If you think you have grasped him, it is not God you have grasped’ God is a mystery, and that should give us joy. It should be a place that we retreat to in prayer, and allow His mystery to fill us with consolations. 

We also must emphasize that God is not primarily focused on the material world. Yes, He orders and sustains it. His act of Salvation History has restored mankind to be His heirs. But that has predominantly been done by healing the immaterial, specifically the spiritual. When Jesus heals the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof in Mark 9, his sins are forgiven first. It is only to prove Jesus’ power to forgive sins that Jesus tells the man to ‘rise and walk.’ We often want God to change our material situation and we think that will then change our spiritual lack of faith (If God performs this act, then I will have sufficient faith to do everything He asks of me). However, anyone who has asked something from God and received it knows just how quickly we forget or need the next sign from God to encourage our faith. True change comes when we ask daily for God to change hearts from within and grace begins to flow whenever we have the grace to act upon it.  

God is someone that we will never fully understand on this Earth, and it is entirely possible we will not understand Him in the next life. This is completely fine. What we do know is that God loves us (gives Himself fully for our eternal good), desires our heart, and that He probably will not work in our life the way we expect him to. It is up to us to have courage and to accept His will in the great adventure that He has for our lives.



At the National Eucharistic Congress, Decided Excellence Catholic Media - with the help of Bishop William Waltersheid - will be presenting "Beautiful Revelation: The Eucharistic Timeline". Throughout human history, God has left repeated proof of His presence in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Salvation. God has given us the wisdom. Have you taken the time to understand? Read this spiritual journey through time to examine critical moments that God uses to reveal the truth of the Body of Christ.

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