31 December 2008

Our Conversation is in Heaven

"When you pray, enter into your room, and having shut the door, pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you" (Matthew 6:6). Our faith is never meant to be a private matter because we're all connected. We are the mystical Body of Christ -- we need each other. But in order to be an effective part in this mystical Body, we must permit ourselves to have our inner temple emptied of the clutter so that it may be filled with the Most Holy Trinity.

Saint Caesarius of Arles tells us that through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have become temples of Christ. God does not live only in shrines built by human hands, but above all He lives in the soul, made in His Image and built by the great Craftsman Himself. Saint Caesarius asks the question: "Do you want this basilica to be spotless?" He tells us how by avoiding sin because God wants to come into our soul (cf. Sermo 229). Saint Paul also teaches us that we are the temple of the living God and also recalls that God said He will live in us and walk among us (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16).

Confession will absolve sin but filling up with Christ will leave no room for sin. In the opening quote of this entry Jesus commands us to make private time with our God. If Jesus left us an example to follow, then what does Sacred Scripture tell us about our Savior's private time with His heavenly Father? I think these verses speak for themselves:

"Having dismissed the multitude, He went into a mountain alone to pray. And when it was evening, He was there alone" (Matthew 14:23).

"And rising very early, going out, He went into a desert place, and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).

"The fame of Him went abroad the more, and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities; and He retired into the desert and prayed" (Luke 5:15-16).

"And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray; and He passed the whole night in the prayer of God" (Luke 6:12).

In the Statutes of the Carthusian Order is the following:
"In the Old Testament, and still more in the New, almost all God’s secrets of major importance and hidden meaning, were revealed to His servants, not in the turbulence of the crowd but in the silence of solitude; and you know, too, that these same servants of God, when they wished to penetrate more profoundly some spiritual truth, or to pray with greater freedom, or to become a stranger to things earthly in an ardent elevation of the soul, nearly always fled the hindrance of the multitude for the benefits of solitude" (Book One - Prologue, Chapter 2, Verse 3).

Being alone with the Trinity is intimate and helps us grow in the knowledge of our God, grow in our love for God and our love for each other.