Yesterday I was on a men’s retreat at my parish. During lunch break one of the guys was looking at his phone and scrolling away. I asked him if he was looking at Facebook. “Yeah,” he said, “just killing some time.” I nodded my head. Then he said, “Facebook is kind of like standing in front of the refrigerator. You open it up and scan through it to see if anything looks good.” I laughed in agreement.
His comment reminded me of a talk I once heard from a priest who was teaching a class on Catholicism. The priest was introducing the idea that all of us have a built in longing for God, but we seek things other than God to appease that longing. He quoted St. Augustine as saying that “our hearts are restless, oh God, until they rest in you.” Then, he shared his own experience of something that is familiar to most of us. It is the tendency to open the refrigerator door and stand there looking for something, even when we’re not really hungry.
I think it was G.K. Chesterton who said, “Every man who ever knocked on the door of a brothel was looking for God, but he just didn’t realize it.” Whether it is the brothel door, the refrigerator door, the pantry door, the log in page of Facebook or any number of endeavors, we all look for something besides God to appease our longing for God. Actually, it’s not something but someone we are seeking. It is a longing that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God, for only God can provide the pure, unconditional love that we crave. If we seek that relationship in anything or anyone other than God, we will eventually find ourselves unfulfilled, frustrated or disappointed. We may even find ourselves addicted, constantly returning to that which can never fully satisfy, and that which ultimately leaves us empty and restless.
Close the refrigerator door. You’re letting all the cold air out.