THIS IS PERSONAL
The most important thing we can ever say about God isn't found in a catechism, papal document, or creed. According to Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, the most vital claim we make about God is this: "You are the God of my life."
Rahner imagines standing on a cliff shouting out everything that has ever been said about God, all the theological terms and foundational dogmas, every last biblical formula of faith. And it won't be enough, he says, until we make this one final simple claim. "You are the God of my life." There's a wondrous authority in this phrase alone to influence our direction. All the rest of it, marvelous and true though it may be, has no power to save. As Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes might say, it's so much chasing after wind.
We might find the concept of personal surrender to God especially startling coming from Rahner, who spent his life weaving the same theological statements that he here summarily demotes. Saint Thomas Aquinas arrived at a similar conclusion after years of working on his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica. After celebrating the Eucharist, the brilliant Dominican priest and theologian told his secretary: “The end of my labors has come. All I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.” Much speculation focuses on what was revealed to Aquinas. Yet in every Eucharistic encounter, we each face the same moment of revelation and affirmation: God is the God of my life.