De Mello contrasted this Judgement God with what he called the God of Welcomes. I can still remember him describing God getting excited like a child because you are coming to pray, ‘God has all these angels with golden trumpets. They are to get ready to welcome you. God has this infinite, red carpet: roll it out, he says to another group of angels.’ And de Mello ended by challenging his audience. ‘You think my pictures are silly and childish. I tell you, they are much, more true than the images you may have, especially if you have some picture in the back of your head of a distant and bored and sulky God. Perhaps even after years of theology studies, false pictures of God can still lurk in our imaginations, so that we too become false. We put on prayer masks. We do our religious duty. We try to bargain with this Boss or placate this judge. We have forgotten that the Lord takes delight in people. In more ordinary language, God is thrilled’ to see us. So get yourselves ready patiently. But remember the true God of love to whom you come. Then, some days at least, those ten minutes of yours can flow naturally and easily, and most importantly of all, leave you strengthened for a life of love.
Anthony de Mello was an Indian Jesuit who achieved international fame for his writings and spiritual retreats.