06 April 2010

Regnum Dei intra vos est

This reflection from Dom Augustin Guillerand really brings home the importance of contemplation, stillness and silence. He writes about ‘objects’, and for many of us they are things like a Bible, a Breviary, or a Rosary: good things which remind us of God, turn our thoughts towards God – ‘but they are not God’. The next step in progression after using these holy objects is visiting God Himself, spending time in silent awe, seeking the Face of the Triune God hidden within His dwelling-place, which is the soul of man. Even externally, God is veiled in the beauty of creation, a smile, a helping hand, a suffering member -- and His humility is revealed to us in the Eucharist – Food for the soul. We are a fallen race, thus the only way that any of this became possible was due to Love's relentless pursuit of that which He loves.

God had given to the human creature every possible gift. He had called him to share in His own divine life. By a privilege, the magnitude of which will only be revealed to us in heaven, man was able to know God as God knows Himself, and to love Him as He loves Himself. To his mind God had given a higher light by which he could contemplate Truth itself, and in his heart a spark of that infinite charity by which he could love the sovereign Good, and be united to Him and possess Him.

And man lost that sublime crown which gave him a place in heaven, and was the richest portion of that treasure of being which was God’s gift to him. And he found himself in the dust and in need, crouched upon the earth that he had preferred to God, despoiled of his soul’s divine adornment.

In that misery, the Eyes of infinite Love followed him, drew him out of that misery and gave him back his beauty and his splendour. Humankind was the King’s daughter, and the Son of God came to restore in her the Image of the Father. He washed away her stains, bathed her in His precious Blood, traced anew in her the effaced traits of the divine Face. He remade her in the Image and Likeness of infinite Beauty. Only when she was able to shake herself free of that earth which is poverty indeed; only then did she recover her right to her Father’s home: an inheritance which is the abode of the spirits of the just, the high heaven itself where God dwells, the Kingdom of the Father.

Jesus said: The Kingdom of God is within you. That is to say, in that deep and mysterious part of the soul we call the centre, the innermost chamber, and, again, the apex of the soul. It is the temple, the sanctuary, the altar that the Father chose as His dwelling-place on the day of our baptism, and it is there He bids us join Him. And we respond to that invitation when we enter into recollection.

Like bees, our faculties come and go ceaselessly, settling and feeding upon any object that presents itself to them. These objects are good, but they are not the ultimate Good. They are from God, but they are not God. They lead us to Him; they make us think of Him, but they do not replace Him. Our faculties must return to the hive, and bring to the divine Majesty Who dwells there all the wealth that they have gathered. It is there the honey is made. They enter there by recollection, and there they reassemble and bring together the fruits they have collected, offering them to their Creator.

Then He, in turn, brings to bear on these fruits of the soul – its memories and images, its thoughts and feelings, its desires, fears and hopes – the light of the heavenly radiance which transforms them and makes them resplendent in beauty. The fruits of the soul, offered to God by the soul, thus become His fruits and the soul’s.

Recollected within herself, the soul, laden with her treasures, joins the Father in the silent sanctuary wherein He dwells, and takes up her abode with Him. She is the Queen of the interior Kingdom, of which she has chosen Him as King. He invites her to share His Throne, and they enter into those in effable relationships which we try to imagine and express in words, but the reality of which surpasses inexpressibly all human language in depth and charm.