Excerpts from HIS SILENT PRESENCE
The object of our prayer-life is to empty ourselves and be filled with the Trinity. The first thing Jesus did when He became Man was to empty Himself. "His state was Divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave and become as men are; and as all men are, He was humbler yet." (Phil. 2:6,7)
Our mission in life, then, is to cooperate with God's Grace and empty ourselves and be filled with the Trinity.
We are not to seek detachment to be free of responsibility, but to enable us to love both God and man with a pure love.
We are not to withdraw from the world to be alone, but to be with God.
We are to do penance, not because it erases our guilt, but because it wipes away the traces of sin.
We are to empty ourselves, not for the sake of self-control, but to be filled with God—transformed into Jesus.
There is no definite method by which we can become selfless. Each one of us has a particular virtue and faults that make the process of becoming like Jesus different. We must look at Jesus, read His Word in Scripture and ask His Spirit to enlighten our minds and give us that particular way by which we can best attain the goal He has set for us.
Closing The Door
Perhaps the secret of all prayer and holiness of life is wrapped in God's plea to listen—to listen to His Silent Presence—that Presence that penetrates our being and keeps us in existence—that Presence that fills our souls with love and serenity—that Presence that makes us strong when we feel weak.
We have forgotten how to pause—we want so much to keep going.
We have forgotten how to be still—we want so much to move on.
We have forgotten how to listen—we want so much to be heard.
No matter where we are or where we go, we can say as Jacob said, "Truly, Yahweh is in this place and I never knew it." (Gen. 28:16)
He is not as far removed from us as we think, for we constantly walk in His Presence and He lives in the center of our souls through Grace.
We listen to the silence of His Presence in the quiet of the night, in the darkness of our souls and in the hearts of our neighbors.
We hear the sound of His Voice in the inaudible words that shout to us of His Beauty in the flowers and trees.
His Silent Presence cries out to us when we see Him suffer in the lonely and forsaken.
His Silent Presence asks for compassion in the downtrodden and the injured.
His Presence, ever-surrounding us like a croak, warms our cold souls with quiet silence—comforting and reassuring.
He asks us to pause and understand His Love for, like His Presence, it too is quiet and all-consuming.
His Silent Presence, like a bandage soaked in oil, heals the wounds of sin.
Our souls, like dry sponges, reach out for the water of Eternal Life, mat they may be satiated with His Silent Presence.
We may lose contact with Him, but He never loses contact with us.
It we are to live any kind of Christian life, we must be aware and present to each other, for when the sense of presence is gone, one of us is very lonely.
When friends become unaware of each other, they become strangers and so it is with God. He stands at the door of our heart and seeks entrance for He desires to abide there and rule as King.
He wishes to possess us, though He is never possessive. He desires our heart, but only to fill it with love so we may in turn give more love to others. He desires our thoughts in order to raise them to the heights. He wants our whole being so He may raise it to His Nature.
He wants very much to be at home in the recesses of our souls—a friend who is always there to console, love and enjoy.
We are encompassed by words and surrounded with noise and we cry out from the depths of our souls for silence—not the dead silence as in a void or the silence that comes from an absence of noise, but the deep silence—the silence that speaks inaudible words and vibrates with quiet sounds.
The silence we need is the kind that brings us face to face with God in an act of faith and love. We need to close our eyes and realize that the darkness we see is not an absence but a Presence—a Presence hidden in the depths of our souls—a Presence so close that all seems dark.
God is a spirit and converses with us in a quiet atmosphere because our minds are not capable of listening to His Voice when they are filled with noise and confusion.
No man can see God in this life and live because His Glory would annihilate our poor, weak, human nature. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity had to divest Himself of His Glory and become one of us in order for us to see God in this life.
Now that He has conquered death and entered into His Glory again, we live in His Spirit and must converse with Him "in Spirit and in Truth" (Jn. 4:23)
The beauty of His Nature is like the fringe on the edge of His Cloak; the mountains are like tassels scattered here and there as His Presence passed by during creation.
Jesus Himself spent many hours in the quiet of the night and the early morning dawn communing with His Father. These are perhaps the most refreshing and beneficial hours of the day to listen to the Silent Presence of God in us and around us.
There are times when we must exert our sense of hearing, to hear God—and we do this when we make an effort to be conscious of the silence within us and around us. It is in this way that we touch the Essence of God, Who is Present everywhere. Where He is not, there is nothing—and so St. Paul tells us that "in Him, we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
He lives in us through Grace but we also live in Him through His Essence, inasmuch as His Omnipotence keeps us and everything else that is, in existence.
Our very being is upheld by Him and we need to be conscious of that Silent Power as It sustains us, rebuilds us, remolds us and desires to transform us into Jesus.
We need to be quiet and let His Presence penetrate our being by giving Him our wills—and total selves.
In the consciousness of the Silence, we must raise our minds to the Trinity living in our souls.
We listen to the Silent Presence of the Father and say, "Lord Father, beget Jesus in me."
We listen to the Silent Presence of the Eternal Word and say, "Lord Jesus, bear fruit in me."
We listen to the Silent Presence of the Eternal Spirit and say, "Lord Spirit, transform me into Jesus."
His Silent Power
The creation narrative in the Book of Genesis is a beautiful example of His Silent Presence and secret ways.
When man invents or produces anything of any value, volumes are written on the subject. But the Sacred Writer, inspired by the Spirit, who hovered over the waters, simply and quietly states the whole of creation in less than two pages.
Some like to imagine the creation of the universe as some chaotic explosion and yet, our daily experience of God's continuing creation is to the contrary.
We live in an atomic age, but how often do we think of the tremendous energy and activity in the invisible particles called atoms. Each atom is a miniature solar system with electrons and protons revolving more than a thousand million times per second and yet—it is all in complete silence. It is not only silent, but invisible.
Every Spring we witness a show of fantastic energy as each blade of grass, each flower and vine push their way through earth, reaching for the sun, for color and life—all in silence.
Man prides himself on his inventions and computers that occupy so much space in noisy rooms and offices and yet, the human mind, with much more than a memory bank, is so silent that no-one but God hears it reason and decide a course of action.
Great generators operate day and night to produce enough electricity to light a few cities and yet, each morning half the world lights up at the crack of dawn as the sun rises in golden splendor—in beautiful silence.
The machines man invents to accomplish the work he cannot do are heavy, large and noisy—but the nerve cells in man's brain that originate those machines are less than one-half ounce in weight, microscopic in size—absolutely silent in operation.
God works silently: His Grace is silent and imperceptible; His sustaining Power is silent; His Providence is silent; His daily miracles of creation are silent; His Mighty Hand, as it guides nations and men, is silent; and His Presence surrounding us, like the air we breathe, is silent.
It is in our souls that we resemble Him, so it must be in the soul that our Union with God, as Spirit, is accomplished.
Our Loving Guest
The Holy Spirit, whose Presence is so Silent because it is within, sees our thoughts, hears our sighs and fulfills our desires. The very Breath of God breathes within us, for we are His Living Temple. He moves our will but never interferes with its freedom. He corrects our weaknesses with gentle persuasion and inspires our thoughts with holy desires and zealous works.
He issues forth from the Father and the Son and touches our souls with a beam of light that enlightens our minds, increases our faith, enlivens our hope and sets our weak love aflame.
The good thoughts we have are mere whisperings of His gentle voice; our conscience—the prodding of His guidance; our desires for holiness—the sparks of His Love and the strength of our souls—the Power of His Omnipotence. He fills our souls with goodness, peace, love, joy, kindness and mercy.
He warns us of occasions of sin by a gentle thought of danger. He instills a desire to set goals and work for the Kingdom. He whispers words of love to speak to the Father and deeds of valor to be accomplished for the Son.
He watches over us as we sleep and sets our feet on level ground as we begin a new day. As long as we do not evict Him by sin, He lives in our souls to instill a spirit of love we never dreamed possible.
We were created to love, but He transforms us into love, for He makes us as He is and we become more and more like Jesus in thought and deed.
Our part of sanctification is to give Him freedom to work in us, give Him our will to accomplish in us and give Him our heart to love with. He and He alone can bear the fruit of Jesus in our souls. He and He alone can bestow Grace, for only God can give God to men. His very Spirit thinks through our thoughts and breathes with our breath because He delights to be with the children of men.
Like any friend who is a guest in our home, He will not force Himself upon us. He comes to us at Baptism and will remain with His Gifts as long as we desire Him to stay. Only our own will can drive Him away, when we choose ourselves and sin in preference to Him. God and the enemy cannot dwell in the same house at the same time. The noise and confusion of sin and selfishness drowns out His Voice and drives Him away.
Of our Three Silent Guests, the Holy Spirit is the most Silent, because His Work is to change us, sanctify us and transform us. It is, by its very nature a hidden work so as not to interfere with our Will, our personality, our talents and our desires.
If we are not attuned to His Silent Presence, we will think we make ourselves holy—so hidden, quiet and gentle is His Work in our souls. But as we accustom ourselves to listen to His Silent whisperings, we are soon aware of how powerful and loving He is in us.
He it is who tears away the veils of imperfection that hide the Presence of Jesus in our neighbor. His love, operating in us, reaches out to the needs of our neighbor. His Strength gives us courage to fight the enemy, the world and ourselves that we may "put on the Mind of Christ."
He it is who teaches us to love with an unselfish love, even unto death. He it is who breathes into our frail bodies a new spirit, a new heart and a new mind.
When we read Scripture, His Presence puts light where there was once darkness.
When we are in sin, His Voice instills feelings of repentance.
When we find it impossible to love, He sends a spark from His Fire to warm our cold hearts.
Living In That Secret Place
The real Christian lives in an atmosphere of prayer. For him, prayer is not a spiritual exercise that he performs on occasion,—it is a way of life. There are times he says prayers, but those are the times he asks for the things he needs. Most of his time is spent in preparing himself to live in God as God lives in him.
His soul raises itself up to God like incense, enveloping itself in the cloud of His surrounding Presence.
A Christian does not strain after God as one seeks a lost object; he merely becomes more and more aware of what he already possesses—His Loving Presence.
A Christian is a realist who fears neither suffering, pain, nor persecution for he endures nothing alone. He does not seek riches or poverty for he knows that both come from God and both can be used for His Glory and the good of the Kingdom.
He is free in heart—free to love friends and enemies alike—for his only goal is to be like His Father.
He is free in mind, for he believes with humble acceptance the mysteries of God and revels in their magnitude and variety.
His Will is free for his only desire is to unite Himself to God.
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