I’m sure many of us have experienced sending a message to someone through Facebook or Viber (or some other app), checking to see if they’ve read it, and seeing the word “Seen” (or “Read”) but getting no reply. What I am uncertain of is how many of us take that with no feeling at all. I, for one, often feel curious, at the very least, to know why the receiver read my message but did not respond. Admittedly, sometimes, I feel antsy, agitated or hurt by the silence. That’s why in Viber, I have already turned off that setting which allows me to see whether the one I send messages to have already looked at what I sent (yes, there is that option, most probably to protect from these kinds of possible reactions to a seen but un-responded to message).
Finding God in All Things is a most important value in Ignatian Spirituality. It’s an invitation to see what’s already there, to find what is not hidden and to acknowledge what abounds. God is in everything, in the good and in the bad, in the big and in the small things. And I wonder if God, offering Himself to us in such a generous and vulnerable way, ever feels like someone who sent a message in Facebook, saw that it was seen by the recipient, but never got a response or an acknowledgement?
No. God does not hold grudges in the way I know some people (including myself) who would say, “Eh, you didn’t reply to my message!” Also, God does not give up but instead tries to make us see Him in all ways and possibilities. He keeps on sending these messages everywhere all the time. But the reality is: I know that I often seen zone God. What I hate being done to me, I do to God. I am good at asking for favors but when those favors are granted, I often forget to say thank you. When I am going through something difficult, I see and focus on my pain and neglect to look at how God stays with me through all that, sending people and circumstances to pull me through it. When there’s a beautiful view or experience, I marvel at its awesomeness and fail to acknowledge its Creator. God, I see what You do and what You give, but I don’t see You. I don’t answer You. I don’t talk with You. Seen zone – sometimes, that’s all I ever do to You.
From all these, I realize that God is indeed the best lover. To find God in all things makes two important points about God: that God can be found and that God does not hold back and instead, offers Himself through everything. And isn’t that the best way to be loved? To be allowed the freedom to find the love that’s being given. It is also about being made to feel that I am worth something because everything is being offered to me.
Yet, for all its availability and generosity, finding God in all things does not demand or prescribe what we do after we find God. There’s no box or prescription to limit how I should act after I decide to see God - it is still up to me to choose when and how to see, how to respond. And, indeed, it is a decision. Just like in Viber or Facebook, what we say or do after seeing the message is still entirely up to us.
And so, I wonder, perhaps in human terms: love means never having to seen zone someone. Including God. But the point is more about God than about me. As I know that in my limitedness and imperfections, I would not perfectly stop not putting God in the seen zone. Therefore, I say, what’s more important is this: that love, God’s love, means being seen zoned and still sending the message over and over again, tirelessly, unceasingly, without blame for me who may choose to be blind or to look in other directions.
That is the love of the God of Ignatian Spirituality. That is the God who offers Himself to me. That is the God who loves me. And I am ever thankful that for all my stubbornness and busy-ness, God still tries and never just seen zones me even when I do that to Him.
------ Miriam Delos Santos is the director of the Office for Mission and Identity.