The same familiar argument for God’s presence to us is evident.
Let’s review – first, we desire perfect home, and we have the capacity to recognize every imperfection in home that we experience in others and the world.
This provokes the question, “How can we recognize every imperfection in home if we do not have some awareness of what perfect home would be like?”
Given that we do have such an awareness, we are led to the next question of how we came to it.
Once again we see that it cannot come from the world around us, because this is precisely where we don’t feel perfectly at home. It can’t come from our brain because it is constituted by restricted physical structures and processes, and is therefore not perfect.
And so, we conclude that it must come from perfect home itself.
Once again we use the same proof from unity and simplicity to show that perfect home itself is one and the same reality as perfect truth itself, perfect love itself, perfect goodness itself, and perfect beauty itself – namely, the same perfect cause – that is, God.
At this juncture, we realize what Augustine discovered in his search for perfect home – namely that God is the source of our awareness of perfect home, and that his presence to our consciousness makes us transcendental – beyond the merely physical and imperfect world.
This last indication of God’s presence reveals something more — captured in the life of St. Augustine.
God’s presence in our consciousness not only makes us transcendent, but also aware of the dignity and destiny that awaits us through his perfectly loving personal presence. When God makes himself present to us, we begin to yearn to be closer to him. This resembles the invitation of the mysterious transcendent being in Rudolf Otto’s numinous experience.
Notice that this personal loving being does not force us to come to or relate to him. He has made us free, and waits for us to freely seek him. When we do not seek him, we feel that something of ultimate importance is missing – and so we feel an emptiness in the pit of our stomachs or a sense of loneliness in the whole of reality.
God does not directly cause us to feel this cosmic emptiness and loneliness; His presence in us combined with our failure to seek him produces it. If we continue to ignore this interior calling, it can lead to deeper emptiness and loneliness – as it did for St. Augustine.
But if we begin the search – examining the clues God has left in the universe and within our own consciousness – clues as diverse as the fine-tuning of universal constants, near death experiences, and the numinous experience – we will draw closer to perfect home, which will gradually lift the emptiness and loneliness.
If like St. Augustine, we seek God in scripture, study, prayer, and the Church, the sense of being at home will increase – until eventually we will be able to say, “For Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”