Magazine article Momentum

Wrestling with God

Magazine article Momentum

Wrestling with God

Article excerpt

Last year, to help prepare the youth at my parish for confirmation, I shared my experience of learning to wrestle with God. Initially, I felt confused as to what to share with them. I found guidance in my previous year's theology class, which included an introduction to the Spiritual Exercises, and in Genesis 32:22-32, where Jacob wrestles an angel.

As a wrestler, I easily relate to the story. The two strangers wrestled throughout the night but there was no referee, no one kept score and there was no winner. After reading the passage once, I go through it again and allow myself to become part of it. This time, I do more than read about the duel. Using my imagination, I witness it in detail. I notice the pain and determination of Jacob wrestling with the angel's unrelenting energy. The ordeal leaves me confused and I ask Jacob if he knew why he wrestled a stranger so intensely. Jacob's reply stuns me. He knows it does not make any sense, but he is apparently content and knows that all is well. I can feel Jacob's satisfaction and it left me in awe. By presenting Jacob's satisfaction to me, God is telling me in a personal way that I too can be satisfied like Jacob.

This experience of the text brought God and me closer. During this spiritual exercise, God challenges me to wrestle patiently with Scripture and to receive the grace to become closer to God. When I do wrestle with Scripture, often I am surprised by how close I feel to God and, in particular, to Jesus. Putting in the time and effort to wrestle with Scripture, with God and even at times with myself yields a deep feeling of satisfaction known as consolation. …

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