The Bible is an answer to the supreme question: what does God demand of us? Yet the question has gone out of the world. God is portrayed as a mass of vagueness behind a veil of enigmas, and His voice has become alien to our minds, to our hearts, to our souls. We have learned to listen to every “I” except the “I” of God.
The man of our time may proudly declare: nothing animal is alien to me but everything divine is. This is the status of the Bible in modern life: it is a sublime answer, but we do not know the question any more. Unless we recover the question, there is no hope of understanding the Bible.
When I first started AWP, I met with the late Jesuit priest Father Richard Curry at the Jesuit residence at Georgetown University. I wanted to get his thoughts and advice on the experiment, and in particular, my Catholic month.
During the conversation he made this remark: “I wonder what God has planned for you.”
This blew my mind.
The notion that there was a plan for me, let alone a divine one, never crossed my mind in my entire life. I’ve only ever conceived of “plans” in terms of my own desires and the logistical steps required to execute those plans.
This is fully in line with modern American culture.
But what if we reframed the notion of plans again and asked the ancient question that Heschel writes in the opening passage: “What does God demand of us?”
Even if we don’t “believe” in God, I think many of us would quickly find that many of our life pursuits wouldn’t line up with ANY conception of what God demands of us.
Instead of endlessly pursuing your own desires to feel fulfilled, perhaps discerning and fulfilling God’s desires for you may be the better path.