"Who has known the mind of the Lord?" (Rom.11:34). It would seem that no one does, if His ways are unsearchable (Rom.11:33). No one can enter the mind of God and look around, as if one were looking at sculptures in a museum. This is true even of other human beings. We are unable to enter another person's mind and read his thoughts. Friends, however, voluntarily open their minds to one another and share their deepest thoughts. This is how they get to know one another, and to love one another.
God, Who made us in His own image and likeness, is not different. It is His delight to open His mind to His friends, so that they may get to know Him and love Him. St. Paul indicates this when he says: "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him.' But to us God has revealed them through his Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God" (1Cor.2:9,10).
Not only are we God's friends, we are His children, that is, as long as we persevere in the state of Sanctifying Grace: "For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God. But if we are sons, we are heirs also: heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ, provided, however, we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him" (Rom.8:14-17).
God listens to His children, with whom He has a close and loving relationship. We can pray to our Father, "Abba" ("Papa"), with confidence, because He always hears us when we pray. "Prayer," says St. Augustine, "is the lifting up of the mind and the heart to God." We open our minds and our hearts to God in prayer, and God does the same, opening His mind and heart to us. If we should find prayer difficult, we have the Spirit of God praying within us, as St. Paul says: "For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself pleads for us with unutterable groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows what the Spirit desires, that He pleads for the saints according to God" (Rom.8:26,27).
Our most perfect model of prayer is Jesus Himself, Who was at all times in close communion with the Father, always at prayer, but without the need of words. Pray always, He tells us, so that we may withstand the judgment that comes upon every man: "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overburdened with self-indulgence and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly as a snare. For come it will upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. Watch, then, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Lk.21:34-36).
In contrast to the false confidence and lack of Fear of the Lord that are to be found even among most Catholics today, including many at the highest levels of the hierarchy, St. Paul says that the punishment of those who persist in unbelief and disobedience will be severe. There is indeed a Hell, he says, for Jesus Christ "will come from Heaven with the angels of His power, in flaming fire, to inflict punishment on those who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These will be punished with eternal ruin, away from the face of the Lord and the glory of His power, when on that day He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all those who have believed" (2Thess.1:7-10).
We must get closer to God through prayer, "raising our minds and our hearts" to Him every day. Why are we so anxious about so many things? "Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things will be given you besides," Jesus promised. "But when thou prayest, go into thy room, and closing thy door, pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father, Who sees in secret, will reward thee" (Mt.6:6).
There is no time to waste. Don't be like the unwise virgins in the Lord's parable, who didn't take enough oil for their lamps to the wedding feast, and were locked out by the bridegroom when they went to buy some. It will be too late on Judgment Day, when the Bridegroom says "Amen I say to you, I do not know you" (Mt.25:12). Put oil in your lamps now through constant prayer!
Our spiritual struggle is made all the more difficult because we are involved in spiritual warfare. St. Paul says: "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high" (Eph.6:12). If we wish to win the battle we must be "prayer warriors" on constant watch for the snares of the devil, who "as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour" (1Pet.5:8). The saints, like St. Alphonsus Ligouri, advise us to pray continually for the strength to avoid sin. We must beseech God each morning to preserve us from sin during the day, and call upon Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin when we are confronted with bad thoughts or occasions of sin. The names of Jesus and Mary are powerful weapons against the enemy. Perseverance wins the battle.
As for knowing God, even little children can know God. The Feast of the Holy Trinity is not that of a remote Deity, unknowable and inaccessible, but of an infinitely good Father Who shares with His children even "the deep things of God," insofar as they can understand them.
Adults sometimes expect things to be more complicated. Jesus was very surprised at the Apostle Philip, who said to Him: "Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us." (Jn.14:8). Jesus replied: "Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known Me? Philip, he who sees Me sees also the Father" (Jn.14:9). This is the very purpose of life, as we learned in our catechism: "We were created to know God, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." Jesus says: "Now this is everlasting life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ" (Jn.17:3).
"Oh what a light of beauty that will be, when we shall see Him as He is" (1Jn.3:2), and those tears shall pass away, which have been my bread day and night, while it is said to me daily, Where is your God? (Ps.42:4)" (St. Augustine, Confessions, 13:14).
"Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God almighty, Who was, and Who is, and Who is coming" (Apoc.4:8). Amen!