Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rejoice in God’s Attentiveness to You

If we're lucky, we reach a point in our spiritual life when we look back on the days when we were living outside of God's grace, days when we thought we were the enlightened ones and Christ's Church just hadn't caught up with our ginormous intellects, the days of indulgence, and we taste what we have been missing.

This is a spectacular description of it.

From: Prayer of the Presence of God
Dom Augustin Guillerand
A Carthusian Monk [1877-1945]

The Saints have written wonderful pages on the theme of the divine friendship. “What dignity and what glory on the part of Almighty God,” says St. John Chrysostom, “to be ever attentive to listen to us.”

Weak creatures, poor beings of a day, tiny flowers born at dawn, only to fade by evening--we have but to turn to Him, and at once He gives us audience. He speaks to us, caresses us; He gives himself. He stoops to our wretchedness and raises us up to His throne. He bids us enter His chamber--the chamber that is His love--the very movement of His being and life. I would tire the best of friends or the most leisured, were I to present myself thus at any hour. My unconstrained and easygoing manner would hurt the kindest of men. Yet God receives me always, and excuses and overlooks my lack of courtesy.

Not only does He receive me; He spoils me. He shows me the splendors of His palace. He has always some new light to offer to my mind, some delight to my heart. And should that light be one already known to me, He clothes it with the freshness of an early spring flower.

Should He think it necessary to leave me in darkness, that night becomes day, and the deepest shadows are transformed into the brightest light. And if He refuses me pleasures of the senses, He makes me find in the prayer of the desert superior delights that enchant my childlike faith in my Father.

These divine relations would suffice me a thousand times, if He presented Himself alone, for He is all, and all to me. But He is accompanied by a great and wondrous company. The greatest souls of all times, raised up and radiant with light that surrounds them, are there with Him, as loving and as good as He. They show me the same love; they offer to share with me their happiness, and the joy of their relations with HIM WHO IS and who Gives Himself. They take my prayers before they have risen from my heart to my lips. They present them to God, enriched with their fraternal supplication; they impart to them the perfume of their smile. They add to them their own merits.

In such company we forget the earth; we no longer think of men and their littleness (and our own); we forget all that depresses or saddens us. We become serene and almost in Heaven. We feel great, strong, and consoled.

How the adversaries of our salvation appear despicable--and indeed they are! God, His grace, the virtues with which He fortifies and ennobles us; the eternal happiness that He promises and of which He occasionally gives us a foretaste; Heaven growing nearer and almost opening--all this can help us to forget the dangers and the hours of desolation of the way. Prayer brings the soul into the presence of these realities; indeed, more than into their presence, for we actually enter the divine presence-chamber.

“Prayer”, says St. John Climacus, “unites us to God, sustains the world, renders souls beautiful, blots out sin, preserves us from temptation, and defends us in the time of battle. It consoles us when the storm breaks, is the mother of fertile tears, and changes tears of regret into tears of love. It feeds our spiritual joys, and nourishes our activities which give birth to them. The perfect virtues, the higher graces, the delights of hearts transformed and made one in God, the most profound lights, the quiet feeling of security and assured hopes, the great progress of souls and the striking divine interventions--all depend upon prayer.”

THIS is what Bryan Hehir, John Unni and those like them are robbing from their flocks. God help them.

(Much thanks to TTC friend Susan for typing this out!)

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