Several years ago, I had a spiritual director who encouraged me to reflect on the following question: “Where did you find God today?” That is the question at the heart of Andy Otto’s new book, God Moments (Ave Maria Press, 2017).
Otto, who has a master’s degree in theology and ministry, is a Catholic writer, speaker, blogger, spiritual director, and podcaster who teaches theology and is the campus minister at Mercy High School in Red Bluff, California. He spent almost three years as a Jesuit seminarian before discerning he was called to marriage. In this book, he seeks to share Ignatian spirituality based on awareness of God’s presence, the importance of prayer, and discernment of our vocation and important life decisions.
God has given each one of us good things and can and does use our encounters with the everyday to speak to us. God can speak to us through other people, things we read, and the beauty of creation. He can even speak to us in the messiness of life, in those difficult moments we would rather not endure.
In order to be aware of these encounters and fully appreciate them, we must engage in prayer and rest in God’s love. “Making self-reflection and prayer a daily pattern can move us toward the human beings God wants us to be.”
Only once we have prayed and tuned into God’s movement in our lives can we truly discern what God wants us to do. “Discernment is a form of decision-making that involves God’s desires and my desires.” Otto emphasizes that discernment is for choosing between two morally good choices. He also acknowledges that “sometimes we have to decide to give up on our desires because there are more important things happening.” In those instances, God can help us discover a new dream.
Sometimes, discernment requires a great act of courage. “Courage allows us to dive in and take a risk trusting that God has a hand stretched out and is saying, ‘Don’t worry – I’ve got your back.’”
God Moments is particularly relevant for younger adults who are still trying to figure out where God might be calling them in terms of vocation, but Otto’s work also serves as a reminder for the rest of us to look for God in our everyday lives. God Moments is recommended for anyone seeking to be more aware of God’s movement in his or her life.