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Easter Monday

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From book "Divine Intimacy - Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day Of The Liturgical Year"... Presence of God Do not leave me, O Jesus, gentle...

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Divine Intimacy

Fr. Gabriel

Presence of God

Do not leave me, O Jesus, gentle Pilgrim; I have need of You.


I. God has made us for Himself, and we cannot live without Him; we need Him, we hunger and thirst for Him; He is the only One who can satisfy our hearts. The Easter liturgy is impregnated with this longing for God, for Him who is from on high; it even makes it the distinctive sign of our participation in the Paschal mystery. "If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God; mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth" Cl. 3, 1-2). The more the soul revives itself in the Resurrection of Christ, the more it feels the need of God and of heavenly truths; it detaches itself more and more from earthly things to turn toward those of heaven.

Just as physical hunger is an indication of a living, healthy organism, so spiritual hunger is a sign of a robust spirit, one that is active and continually developing. The soul which feels no hunger for God, no need to seek Him and to find Him, and which does not vibrate or suffer with anxiety in its search, does not bear within itself the signs of the Resurrection. It is a dead soul, or at least one which has been weakened and rendered insensible by lukewarmness. The Paschal alleluia is a cry of triumph at Christ’s Resurrection, but at the same time it is an urgent invitation for us to rise also. Like the sound of reveille, it calls us to the battles of the spirit, and invites us to rouse and renew ourselves, to participate ever more profoundly in Christ’s Resurrection. Who can say, however advanced he may be in the ways of the spirit, that he has wholly attained to his resurrection?

II. We read in today’s Gospel the very beautiful story of the disciples at Emmaus (Lc. 24, 13-35). Here we find the earnest supplication : "Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent."

Stay with us, Lord! It is the cry of the soul who has found its God and never again wishes to be separated from Him. Let us too, as the disciples at Emmaus, go in search of the Lord. Our whole life is a continuous journey toward Him, and we are often sad, even as they were, because we do not succeed in finding Him, because, not understanding His mysterious ways, it seems that He has abandoned us. "We hoped that it was He that should have redeemed Israel... but... ," said the two disciples, frustrated by the death of Jesus, and not perceiving that Jesus, at the very moment when they were about to relinquish all hope, was there close to them, disguised as their fellow traveler. We have often shared this experience of Him. Hidden in the obscurity of faith, God draws near our soul, makes Himselfour traveling companion, and still more, lives in us by grace. It is true that here below He does not reveal Himself in the clarity of the "face to face" vision which is reserved for eternity; we see Him only as "through a glass in a dark manner" (1Co. 13, 12); nevertheless, God knows how to make Himself known. To us as to the disciples at Emmaus, His presence is revealed in an obscure manner; yes, but unmistakably, because of the unique ardor which He alone can kindle in our hearts. "Was not our heart burning within us whilst He spoke in the way?" The soul who has found the Lord, even but once in this manner, not outside itself, but within itself, living and acting in its heart, cannot fail to direct to Him the cry : "Stay with me!"

Yet this cry is already heard, it is already a permanent reality, because God always dwells with a soul in the state of grace. God is always with us, even when we do not feel Him, even when we do not notice His presence. God is there, God remains with us; it is for us to remain with Him. If at certain moments He permits Himself to be recognized by our soul, He does so just to invite us to dwell with Him in His intimacy. Let us, therefore, beg Him ardently : teach us, O Lord, to stay with You, to live with You.


"O my hope, my Father, my Creator, true God and Brother, when I think of what You said—that Your delights are to be with the children of men—my soul rejoices greatly. O Lord of heaven and earth, how can any sinner, after hearing such words, still despair? Do You lack souls in whom to delight, Lord, that You seek so unsavory a worm as I?... O what exceeding mercy! What favor far beyond our deserving!

"Rejoice, O my soul... and since the Lord finds His delights in you, may all things on earth not suffice to make you cease to delight in Him and rejoice in the greatness of your God.

"I desire neither the world, nor anything that is worldly; and nothing seems to give me pleasure but You; everything else seems to me a heavy cross.

"O my God, I am afraid, and with good reason, that You may forsake me; for I know well how little my strength and insufficiency of virtue can achieve, if You are not always granting me Your grace and helping me not to forsake You. It seems to me, my Lord, that it would be impossible for me to leave You... But as I have done it so many times I cannot but fear, for when You withdraw but a little from me I fall utterly to the ground. But blessed may You be forever, O Lord! For though I have forsaken You, You have not so completely forsaken me as not to raise me up again by continually giving me Your hand... Remember my great misery, O Lord, and look upon my weakness, since You know all things" (T.J. Exc, 7 - Life, 6).

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