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Wednesday - First Week after Octave of Easter


From book "Divine Intimacy - Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day Of The Liturgical Year"... Presence of God Inspire me, O Lord, with piety, ...

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Divine Intimacy

Fr. Gabriel

Presence of God

Inspire me, O Lord, with piety, so that I may learn how to converse with You in a spirit of real filial love.


I. The teachings of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus suggest a method of meditation which is especially well adapted for bringing souls to divine intimacy and preparing them for contemplation.

St. John of the Cross gives us the distinctive note of this method : "The end of meditation and mental consideration of divine things is," he says, "to obtain some knowledge and love ofGod" (AS II, 14,2). We see at once that the emphasis is not placed on the work of the intellect, nor on the "speculative knowledge" of God and of the truths of faith. Rather, it rests on "loving knowledge," which, of course, has its support in thought, but thought that is affectionate, permeated with love, and that surges from a loving heart. When we love a person, we come to know him intuitively, and thus, better and more easily than those who might study him more minutely, but without love.

St. Teresa of Jesus speaks in the same sense and says that prayer consists "not in thinking much, but in loving much" (Int CIV, 1). Thought is always subordinated to love. While we do think during the meditation, our purpose is not to become more learned, but to increase our ability to love God more. Consequently, the work of the mind will be orientated especially to the realization of God’s love for us; and this, by reflection on the various manifestations of infinite love. It can well be said that there is no divine mystery or truth of faith which does not, in some way, speak of the excessive love of the Lord. The more we are convinced of this love, the more profound will be our "loving knowledge" of God; and at the same time, we shall feel an ever increasing impulse to return love to Him who has first loved us so greatly. Thus, meditation, the discourse of the intellect, will bring us spontaneously to the exercise of love. For this reason we do not give the principal place in our prayer to reflection and reasoning, however lofty and sublime they may be; but we make use of them only insofar as is necessary to awaken love within us, to place us and maintain us in the actual exercise of love.

II. If in meditation we should not give first place to thought, neither should we go to the opposite extreme and neglect the necessary effort and application. We should apply the following method:

Even before reading the point of the meditation, we should take great care to put ourselves in the presence of God, seeking by means of an energetic act of the will to put aside all alien thoughts, all preoccupation and haste.

Mental prayer is an intimate conversation with God; but it is clear that we cannot treat intimately with Him if He is far from our minds and hearts. It is true that God is always present to us, but it is we who are not always present to Him. Therefore, we must establish contact with Our Lord, and place ourselves near Him, by a conscious realization of His presence. Each one of us can do this in the way which seems most suitable—either by considering the Most Holy Trinity dwelling in our heart, or by drawing near to Jesus present in the tabernacle, or perhaps by picturing to ourselves interiorly some episode in the life or the Passion of our Savior. Thus, in the presence of God and beneath His gaze, we read the point of the meditation tranquilly, and reflects upon it calmly and gently, not as if reasoning with ourselves, but rather as if speaking to God in whose presence we are. The more the soul becomes accustomed to this way of reflecting, that is, treating and developing the subject ofour meditation with God, the more quickly will this method attain its end, which is to enable the soul to converse with the Lord, to speak affectionately with Him as a son speaks with its father, as a friend with a friend. Throughout the time ofprayer application and effort are certainly needed; but these must be directed more to the sustaining of the soul in loving contact with God than to its preoccupation with abstract, narrow reasoning. The thoughts drawn from the meditation—and we may refer to the text whenever we feel the need of doing so—will serve to nourish this contact and to give the soul a subject for conversation with God. The work of the intellect must not make us forget that the essence of prayer consists in an intimate communing with God in which an interchange of love, not reasoning, predominates.


"Teach me, O Lord, how to meditate; teach me to pray, for I can do neither the one nor the other as I should, and You alone can teach me. Give me ears to hear You in the reading and in the meditation; give me a tongue to speak with You in prayer. Inspire me with Your divine Spirit, so that He may enable me to know the subject on which I should reflect, what I should say and ask, and how I should ask in order to obtain it. Let the Holy Spirit teach me to groan in Your presence; or rather, may He Himself form in me those holy groanings which You always hear and never reject. Inspire me, O Lord, with a great love for Your divine truths and doctrines, so that when I read of them, I shall understand and relish them. Open my mind and my heart; make me faithfully believe what You teach and practice what You command" (an ancient author).

Above all, O Lord, grant that meditation on Your mysteries may serve to inflame me with Your holy love, so that I shall become more capable of loving You and more disposed to give myself generously to Your service. Teach me to meditate, not only with my mind, but especially with my heart; teach me to reflect devoutly and lovingly. Then, indeed, meditation will strike new sparks of love in my heart, and, as I hope, with Your grace, a flame will rise from it, ever stronger and more ardent, more and more able to purify my soul and to urge me ardently to accomplish Your will. How happy shall I be, O Lord, if at the powerful breath of the Holy Spirit, this flame should burst forth into a conflagration of divine love! My coldness, my meanness, my selfishness make me unworthy and incapable of this, but You who can raise up sons of Abraham even from stones, break my heart, so hard and cold, and light in it the living flame of Your love.

"O eternal God, You are eternal and infinite Goodness, no one can understand You or know You wholly, except insofar as You give him the grace to do so. And You give as much of this knowledge as we prepare our souls to receive. O sweet Love, all my life I have never loved You.

But my soul always longs for You; and the more it possesses You, so much the more it seeks You; the more it desires You, so much the more it finds You and relishes You, O sovereign, eternal fire, abyss of charity" (St. Catherine of Siena).

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Tuesday - First Week after Octave of Easter