from Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of God
Fr. Kilian Healey, O. Carm
Since Jesus is one with God the Father, union with Jesus --even in this world--is the purpose of our life. He is the One whom we must love most deeply, so that we may reach the perfection nature and find true happiness. To love Jesus of Nazareth with an intimate, personal love is to love God with an intimate, personal love, for Jesus is God.
Therefore, if we have Jesus in His sacred humanity ever before our eyes, if we look upon Him with love and try to live a life of personal friendship with Him, pleasing Him in all things, we will have already attained to some degree, an intimate love of God. . . .
If we are just a beginner, we might find it advantageous to perform our daily work in the presence of Christ, imagining Him to be nearby, using some holy card or painting for our image of Him.
If we have learned to pray and live a virtuous life, this simple imaginary presence will not satisfy us. We will want to read and reread the Gospels, make a study of Christ, and then try to walk in His footsteps--even to the Cross. Only the continual study of Christ can make us consicious of His presence.
I am too often away from Jesus--off in the airy land of speculative theology or ruminations about spiritual things. It is better always to come back to the concrete center of existence. Through the Gospels, I am given light for life. I am shown the exemplary model of how to conduct myself. And when I read and pray these same Gospels, part of what they say becomes a part of me.
Yesterday's Gospel reading for mass reminded me, "If you have my commandments and practice them, then you love me." So I ask myself, where can I find this commandments? Surely in the Bible--in perfection in the gospels, but throughout all revealed truth.
And then I ask the harder question--do I keep them, do I practice them? I don't think I am alone when I say truthfully that I do not practice them nearly so well as I would wish. I want to love Jesus and He has told me how. But I'm not sure I want to love Him so much that I can give up my favorite obsession of the hour. Jesus is important, but my house, my car, my petiole collection, my _________ (fill in the blank), is presently more time consuming and more important.
So I simply pray,
I do want to love you. I want to love you more than anything else. But I do not. I fail at every turn to show my love by the practice of love--your commandments. Lord turn my heart toward you. Step by step draw me closer and let me do as you would have me do for your people and for myself. Let your commandments be at the very center of my life so that when I wake I breath and do them, and when I sleep, I live them nevertheless. Banish the idols I have placed in your way, and give me the strength never to miss them.
O sweet Jesus, make me yours entirely--body and soul, heart and mind, to every fiber to every inch. Help me, O Lord to be your loyal and loving servant and by my actions to make you real to the world around me.
Father guide my steps, strengthen within me the abode of the Holy Spirit that I may better imitate and become your Son to this world in darkness.
Through the same Christ, Our Lord, who lives in love and eternity with the Father who begot Him and the Holy Spirit, born of love.