04 August 2010

Intimacy with God

I am not afraid of tiring myself or of displeasing the One I seek in these extravagant efforts of my unsatisfied mind. I have not said enough as to the extent to which the soul that prays must believe in the love of the God to Whom it prays. Yes: prayer is like speaking face-to-Face with God. God and the soul are on the same level: they occupy the same inner chamber. They are like Father and son, the Spouse and His bride, like Friend and friend. The soul's colloquy with God must, then, have one essential characteristic -- intimacy, an intimacy born of the closest family ties. The child sees and loves with the light and love of the Father; he sees what the Father sees. He does not see all that the Father sees, but he sees all that the Father enables him to see. He is happy in that union accorded him by the Father, by which the Father makes him His son, for this union is truly the communication of His own divine life.

This unshakable confidence in the God Who is Love, in the Father giving Himself to souls, is all-powerful. ‘If you shall have faith . . . and shall say to this mountain: Take up and cast yourself into the sea, it shall be done’ ~ Saint Matthew 21:21. ‘They that trust in Him shall understand the truth, and they that are familiar in love shall rest in Him’ ~ Wisdom 3:9. ‘Be of good heart . . . your faith has made you whole’ ~ Saint Matthew 9:22. These are actual assurances from the Spirit of Love; they are beyond question and leave no room for doubt.

This confidence goes very far: it must allow no trial, no delay to affect it. ‘Although He should kill me’, says Job, ‘I will trust in Him’ ~ Job 13:15. It must hold the difficult golden mean between presumption, which would suppress all human effort, and doubt, which, having made the effort, does not really believe in the all-powerfulness of the God Who is Love or in the love of the all-powerful God.

The ardent love of the poor sinner to whom Jesus said: ‘Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved much’ ~ Saint Luke 7:47; that collective prayer which He assures us is all-powerful with his Father ~ cf. Saint Matthew 18:19; those works of mercy which undoubtedly call down the divine blessing on those who perform them ~ cf. Saint Matthew 25:40; the generous pardon extended to those who have offended against us ~ cf. Saint Matthew 7:22 -- this is what the Holy Spirit is glad to find in the souls of those who appeal to His love. So too, is the conversion of heart which restores us once more to the favour of the good God ~ cf. Psalm 50:14; the recognition of our plight which suffices to keep us in the light and truth ~ cf. Psalm 50:5; the asking again and again, which is evidence of our determined confidence ~ cf. Saint Matthew 21:22; our patience in times of trial and our solicitude for the divine glory ~ cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31 -- it is in such human voices as these that God recognizes His own Voice and responds to it.

~ Dom Augustin Guillerand ~