Written by Ricky Jones

When most people think of theology we think of books and professors. We think of big words like transubstantiation and the hypostatic union. But the true purpose of theology is not just to study God for the sole purpose of study, rather learn more about He who loves us.

Getting to Know God

I don’t know how or when you met God, but for me I remember exactly when. It was during the summer of 2007 and I found myself sitting in the pews of St. Francis Xavier parish in Phoenix, Arizona. I wasn’t a Catholic. But I had decided that day to go to Mass. For the past few months I had been going to Mass with my then girlfriend and her family, but I wasn’t “into it”. I was just there to make a good impression. But this time, I had chosen to go of my own accord. In fact, they weren’t even there with me this time.

At some point throughout the Mass it happened. I had an epiphany—or a theophany rather. I didn’t hear any voice or understand any theological truth other than that God was real. And that this God loved me. This was my first encounter with God.

From this moment on I have been seeking to know God more deeply. I have been studying Him. Or as my wife would say, I’ve been “theologizing”.

Theology is Head & Heart

It is easy to get caught up in the study of God, learning more about Him, but failing to know Him, who He is. This has been one of the difficulties I have faced throughout my few short years as a Christian. I love to read books about God. I enjoy studying the Bible. But sometimes I forget that God is not merely a topic of study. True theology unites head and heart.

In my experience that hot summer day in Arizona I knew in my mind and in my heart that God was real. Afterwards I began to learn more and more stuff about God, but it took a while before I actually started to pray, to talk to Him, to develop a relationship with Him. (Unfortunately, this is one of the problems with the current state of catechesis in our Church. We don’t do a very good job of teaching how to pray or about the importance of having a relationship with God.)

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and who walk in his ways.”

~ Psalm 128:1

I want to point out that I am not downplaying the importance of knowledge of God. The more I know about God and His ways, the deeper in love I fall with Him. I can understand better why things are the way they are. I can follow the plan that He has set forth me as an individual and as part of the Body of Christ, His Church. How can you “walk in his ways” if you don’t know what His “ways” are.

A Love Affair with God

You are reading this blog today, so God has already invited you into relationship with Him. You may or may not have the same struggle that I do with theology, but nevertheless it’s important that you understand that there is more to religion than just knowing what you believe—although this too is essential.

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”

~ G. K. Chesterton

I love to go to the beach. When I do get the chance I sometimes just stare at the water—it’s power, it’s beauty, it’s immensity. God is like an ocean. We can stand on the shore and look at in admiration—this by the way is a very important part of the Christian life, adoration—or we can sit on the edge of the dock with our feet in the water. But you never really get it until you dive in. You can’t truly appreciate the power, beauty, and immensity of God until you jump in.

So let your study of God lead you not just into understanding, but into relationship, a love affair that will last forever.

Ricky Jones

Attended first retreat in June 2010. A convert to Catholicism, Ricky came into the Church in 2008 and has been on fire ever since, having served as a catechist and parish leader. He blogs about faith at LeadersThatFollow.com. He is the author of Seven Lessons in Leading People to Life Change, a practical guide for living your faith, leading people into relationship with God, and building up the Church. Together with his wife Johana he founded The ROCK Association a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has as its mission providing resources, training, and the construction of buildings for the the purposes of faith formation. They are currently building a convent in Tanzania, but they make their home in sunny Los Angeles, California with their two young boys (and baby #3 on the way).

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