Desiring to Live in God's Presence

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from Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God
Fr. Kilian J. Healy, O.Carm

You must desire to live in God's Presence

Many people remain strangers to God because they love unwisely the pleasures of the flesh and the world. They would love God, but they want the inordinate love of cretures, too. Having known the pleasures of this life, they find it almost impossible to give them up. They fear, and how foolishly, that nothing can take the place of human loves, money, sports, and carnal pleasures. But, if they were to set out to love God, to live in His presence, they would find their love of creatures gradually diminishing. To one who sees God, all created things are small. having loved a greater good, it is easy to forget the lesser: "If a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing."

In this exercise, as in all progress in prayer, it is most important to persevere. We must have the desire to want to live in the presence of God. We must pray for this desire. We must not be satisfied only to be in the state of grace. We must continually bestir ourselves to realize that is is possible to come to deep love of God.

This is detachment from "the other side" as it were. It is the way to properly look at the process of detachment. I do not seek to leave the things of the world behind as a sort of arbitrary exercise in self-control. I love God first, most, always, and everything else falls away. It isn't as though I do not live in the world, but rather that my primary preoccupation is with God alone, the things of the world fall into perspective and are not nearly so important.

This is the way to view detachment. Increasing love of God causes the love of creatures to fade in importance. I love the giver and all of His gifts assume their proper dignity as created things, but they no longer control me or have sway over me.

Thus, the exercise of detachment isn't one to be performed for its own sake, but rather it is the natural outcome of a growing love of what is truly important. We all know the truth of this. In ordinary life as a hobby or occupation consumes more time, other things, formally quite prepossessing, fade into the background. How much more true when our central preoccupation is love of the Creator of all.

Detachment is the abstract ideal arrived at not by seeking to be detached, but by seeking God first, most, and always. I don't have to work at detachment; I must work at loving God through His grace. This leads quite naturally to separation from things of lesser importance. I will have found "the pearl of great price" and everything I have is too little to pay for it.

Father Kilian will go on to offer us five ways of detecting and loving God in our ordinary lives. These are all ways of communicating with God and, in a sense we are probably not used to, praying to Him.

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Hi Steven;

Thank you for writing such a beautiful and thought-provoking post!

God bless,

blink, blink, blink

"To one who sees God, all created things are small. having loved a greater good, it is easy to forget the lesser."

All created things?

I believe this is, at the very least, injudiciously phrased. How is it compatible with loving your neighbor as yourself? "Whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."

Dear Mary,

I respectfully disagree. God is greater, far greater, beyond far greater than any part of His creation. That is a truth. "As far as the heaven's are above the earth are my ways above the ways of men."

And I believe that it is a human foible to forget the lesser in the light of the greater. The vast majority of us do it all the time. How easy it is to do so--but that does not make it right. And it is the way of the Saint not to do so, just as Saint Teresa Benedicta even with the glorious vision of God before her eyes did not neglect to comfort her fellow travelers in the train to Auschwitz.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 8, 2004 7:10 AM.

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