Cropped painting of white woman in the nude, with the words: "We cannot hide from God" on the right.

Editor’s Note: Continuing with our 40th Anniversary celebrations, we present Brian’s Reflections, a series of observations from Heart of Life co-founder, Fr Brian Gallagher msc.

The first words in the bible are God’s words: ‘Where are you?’  The Book of Genesis tells the story of Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit and then she and Adam hide from God after realising what they had done.  God comes into the garden and cries out, ‘Where are you?’

I can hear the words as it seems to me that God is still asking them – to me, to all of us.  Where are you – not where are you physically or geographically, but where are you, in yourself.  God is asking us to come before God openly as God wants us to be upfront in our relationship with God.

Perhaps other ways of looking at where we are before God is to ask ourselves: What do I stand for? What are my values? What do I believe? How do I relate to other people?  Where am I in my life?  Maybe even, what are my regrets? What mistakes have I made?  Where do I need forgiveness?

We cannot hide from God. We have been taught that God knows all things, that God knows where we are as God sees the heart.  But for our own sake, God’s questions are asking us to come to terms with our own inner life, to acknowledge where we stand before God.  In truth, this is the only way to be before God – honestly and truly, as we are.

The best practice for this is to be equally open in our relationships with other people.  How different life will be when we can be totally honest in the way we meet and relate to others, and likewise others in their way of relating to us.  Mutual respect for all people, genuine listening to the people we encounter daily, caring for all people, whatever of our likes and dislikes – this surely is what God is asking of us: where are you?

In this way, we stand against injustice, discrimination, prejudice and violence in our world because we are meant to be – indeed, we are – loving people.