It doesn’t take a big act to move closer toward God. We do it in the little things every single day. Think about St. Thérèse. She discovered the “little way” and became a Doctor of the Church, all because she realized we move a little closer toward God or a little further away from him a thousand times a day.
From The Turning Point
I want you to notice how Nicodemus moves from darkness to light though. Think about it. In chapter three, he comes to Jesus at night. He’s fearful, he’s scared, he’s cautious . . . doesn’t necessarily want everybody to see him. By the time we get to the middle of the Gospel, he’s saying, “Hey, you know what, let’s at least give this Jesus guy a little bit of consideration.” And then when we arrive at the end of the Gospel—at the crucifixion in chapter nineteen—and Nicodemus is there with Joseph of Arimathea, they’re there in the daylight, taking Jesus’ body down. How that contrasts with Judas. Judas was in the light—he was near Jesus—and by the time we get to the Last Supper, he leaves Jesus and steps into the darkness. Nicodemus begins at night and, slowly but surely—not instantly, but slowly but surely—makes his way out of the darkness and into the light.
You’ll see a basic spectrum that shows some of the stages of moving toward God or moving away from God. And it will take you from rejection of Jesus, to resistance to Jesus, to inquiry about Jesus (which is kind of where Nicodemus was there when he’s asking questions), to seeking Jesus, to believing Jesus, to growing and loving in Jesus. That spectrum shows that it’s not always sort of off or on with our relationship with the Light of the World, but rather really it’s kind of a stage-by-stage-by-stage, phase-by-phase as we make our way out of the darkness and into the light.
Where are you now? Where would you place yourself on that continuum? Nicodemus made his way from darkness into light. What direction are you going? And let me just remind you of two things that you probably already know. One is, your journey may be very slow or it may be very fast. It’s your journey and only yours, nobody else’s. And second of all, no matter what age you are, it’s never too late to begin moving in the direction toward life and light.
If I’m being honest, the answer is both. I remember sitting in my car one afternoon listening to Catholic radio, and I heard something that put a lot into perspective: “Nothing is neutral to the soul.”
I remember feeling a little stunned and enlightened and, honestly, a little scared. And I realized that each decision I make is so intentional. Each decision, large or small, is ultimately moving me toward or away from God.
So, when I start my day with morning prayer or call a friend who I know has been struggling, I know that I’m moving toward God. If I glare at someone on the freeway who may be a bad driver or talk about somebody behind their back, I’m moving away from God. And knowing whether or not I’m moving toward or away from God is one of the most important questions that I can ask myself. It’s either helping me become the-best-version-of-myself, or it’s not.
So what about you? Are you moving toward or away from God?