The First Step
How many of your relationships have gone stagnant only to later be unexpectedly revived? Consider high school friends. You haven’t seen them in years when out of the blue something reminds you of them. All sorts of questions arise regarding their well-being and whereabouts, and you feel the desire to call them. Your friendship never ended—you were just so busy with daily life you simply lost contact, and now you sense an urge to renew your friendship.
Perhaps you have a loving relationship with your spouse. But over the years your job, children, and life in general have taken most of your time and energy. Your attention is demanded from many directions, and you haven’t given as much love and attention to your spouse and marriage as you’d like. You love your spouse dearly now, but you want to renew your relationship and regain those feelings of the first few years.
Relationships require hard work and energy. Imagine if you never called your mother, wrote her, or visited. Although she might not be pleased by your behavior, would she love you less? It’s likely she would love you just as much as she always has. However, imagine the joy she would feel if you called for no reason except to say “I love you.”
Relationships thrive on shared experiences and good communication. Even though we all know this, from time to time we realize we’re not giving enough of ourselves to our important relationships and that we may need to make an effort to renew them. Now think about your relationship with God. Just as with our human relationships, our relationship with God requires hard work. We have to visit his house, communicate with him in prayer, and enter into a covenant with him through the sacraments. We must be part of Christ’s Body—the Church—and offer praise and worship. God lacks nothing; therefore, he doesn’t gain anything from our worship. Nothing we give him makes him more complete. Instead, we receive grace, divine life, grateful hearts, hope, and love. Through the act of worship, we enter into the life of God—and into the most important relationship we can have.
God doesn’t love us less when we fail to work at keeping our relationship alive with him, but we run the risk of loving God less. This is why constant renewal of our relationship with the Lord is essential to Christian life. God renews our hearts, refreshes our souls, and gives us the inner strength to meet challenges. Renewing our relationship with God is the first step in renewing our relationships with one another in a healthy and meaningful manner.