Hear, O Israel

The first reading today ends with the great Hebrew prayer, the Shema. Listen. What a pity we Christians (sic) don’t have a similar tradition of reading this essential bit of our religion three times a day: “Listen, Israel: the Lord our God is the Lord.”

The priest at Mass reminded us that Jesus draws together this belief from Deuteronomy with his teaching to love your neighbour as yourself. He said something important which struck me and marked a milestone for my spiritual journey. It is not enough to believe in God, you must also love him.

I realise that I have no difficulty in loving God, only in believing in him. But through the cloud of unknowing is this not a start? We can never prove our belief or otherwise in God, but we can feel the effects of his presence through that cloud.

Once again, I read this week that most people nowadays crave spirituality but reject religion. I am the opposite. I have difficulty with unquestionable belief in God. I love religion. We must not agonise too much over belief, only accept the effect.