Saturday, 25 July 2015

119: The Starting Point in Spiritual Life

Question: Can you please elaborate on “God loves you”.  How should we as humans in a noisy, difficult and challenging world filled with earthly temptations..... feel... the LOVE of GOD, in quantity, quality or in faith? How to internalise it or tailor it to suit the human being, to use it and benefit from it. To see how this love is conveyed, in order to make good use of it and use it to the maximum without distractions and with optimal fruitful capacity. Like the seed that grows in a favourable and fertile soil.
God is God, and the human being is the most imperfect being, who will die with his weaknesses and illnesses.... It is hard to compare "apples" with a "chalice" for example.....
Awaiting your reply .....with deep gratitude.

Answer: Thank you very much R. for your trust and for your question.

God is love”, and “God loves you” are expressions that we are used to. But sometimes it is important to enter more deeply into their meaning.
"To Love" means "to give oneself" to the person we love. Take marriage for example: we are called to love, to give our consent, to give ourselves to the other person. It is the same: love is love, love is to come out of ourselves and give ourselves.
So, when we say: “God loves you” it means that He wants to give Himself to you. He doesn’t give gifts or presents, He wants to give Himself, nothing less.
So this is the starting point!

Now, as you say: "we are busy", "we have noise", outside and inside of ourselves. There are temptations: laziness, tiredness, etc.
But we have good will, and we have the Gift of Faith that we received in Baptism, that guides us toward God, and tells us that since He wants to give Himself to us, receiving Him, therefore, is possible. So, the conflict between our busy noisy life and the Life of Receiving Him in us seems only apparent, but in reality it is possible to receive Him - through a Journey of Growth of course.
Faith received in Baptism is a very little Divine Seed planted in us by God and this Seed - Jesus in us - should become the biggest Tree of the garden.

First and foremost we must see: God wants us, He needs us, He has a divine Desire/Thirst to give Himself to us. He is the one who calls us, not we who do so. He is the one who is searching, day and night, for us. He doesn’t shout in order not to put pressure on our freedom, but he shouts silently… It is important to know all the above.

We are invited to open a way in the sea of our busy life to God himself in order to start do the gardening work: ploughing the soil to introduce oxygen, offering Sun, and watering the soil/seed.
The General help of the Grace of God is constantly given to us to fulfil our part: to ask, to knock on the door, to search for Him. If it is given constantly to us, this means we need to use it, enact it. It depends on us to do so. It is a matter of freewill.

If we are really convinced that there is a Way to receive God, that this is what God wants to do to us and that taking time to receive Him in our life is essential, then we can say this prayer:

Dear God,
I know that you want to give yourself to me,
you know how weak I am, how busy I am, and how noisy is my life,
how I don’t find time to sit down and stay with you,
so please, help me, rearrange my daily schedule
so I can find the right time to listen to you and receive you.”

This small prayer, the prayer of a total beginner but full of good will, is very powerful if it is made with pure intention. After having done this prayer, one has to open his/her eyes to see God starting to fashion a Way, like Moses who opened a way in the sea.
There are two essential parts in this activity of "God to be received", this "Divine Bread" (God himself):
1- one is to sit down and listen to Jesus and put into practice what He says (opening the daily Readings of the Mass),
2- is to sit down and receive Him deeply in us (going back to Jesus' host in our heart, received in the Eucharist).
These two parts, these two activities are vital, because they nourish our Tree, and allow it to grow. They allow us to receive God's love.

These two aspects of the Bread that we need to eat are given to us during the Mass, but even if we attend Mass, we often do not digest the food that we have taken in - we say to you O Lord: "Give us this day our daily Bread"… "our daily bread" is your daily Word that you want to give us to put into practice, "our daily bread" is as well the Fire of your Love and deep union with Jesus received in the Eucharist and taking time afterwards to interiorise Him: His Body, Blood, Soul, Spirit and Divinity.

The Journey starts… as it started with Mary, Jesus’ Mother and His best disciple, the one who had Faith in God's Words. In Her the Holy Spirit formed Jesus… with Her and the Holy Spirit God forms Jesus in us, He allows that Seed in us to grow. God said to us: I want to give you a new heart, a heart of flesh (like Mary’s heart)… So this is as well our prayer:

"give me a heart like Mary’s heart.
Form Jesus in me as you formed it in Her…
or, better, like what Nicodemus said:
as an adult, let me be in my real Mother, Mary,
so Jesus can be formed in me.. (see John 3)".

I hope this helps as a starting point.
Two essential ways/means to receive God’s love can be summed up us: sit down and listen to his Word (open the daily readings) and sit down and receive Jesus deeply in you, like the tree receives the Water. The two highlights of the Mass.

Let me add one point about "feeling" or "not feeling" God. The Living Tradition of the Church says the following: believing (which means to open our heart to the Gift of the Holy Spirit, to God's Love) gives us the experience of this Love - and not vice-versa.
Believe first, i.e. open yourself to receive, then you will see, you will experience.
Faith is an opening of the heart that leads to an experience.
In this "experience" we have different levels, like on a very high mountain:
1- the lowest part of the mountain has houses, streets and trees (senses)
2- the higher part of the mountain, has sometimes lakes (feelings emotions), grass
3- the highest parts of the mountain, have rocks that lead to the highest point (mind, will, memory)
4- The highest part of the mountain is not the one we have just mentioned (number 3), it is the part that lies beyond the clouds. This part of the Mountain can see the sun directly (the spirit, or heart)

In our experience of God, some rays, refracted by the clouds could fall in the parts 1, 2, 3. But in fact the real direct Ray of the Sun, God himself, is given only to the Highest part.
This is why we say that "we live with/in Faith": we know that the Sun shines in that highest part. But that highest part in us, is beyond consciousness, it is "supra-conscious". When we receive Communion we know that we have been touched by His Divinity. Where did it happen? In the supra-conscious part of our Mountain: above the clouds (4). So the lower part says: “I believe!” but in fact it is the experience of that Highest part.
In that experience of God let us not be deceived by what falls into the conscious part (1 to 3), we know that He pours Himself into the highest point of the Mountain. If He gives us some crumbs in 1to3 this is fine, but the Substance of His Being is given to us in 4.

1 comment:

Jean Khoury BSc MA said...

I have received this answer: Thank you Jean. I really needed to be reminded of all of this and will sleep with more hope and desire. This morning I was remembering how you said that by the end of level 2 we should be able to know the Will of God, have clarity etc and I see how far I have been slow because I have not created the time for Him despite the desire. Busyiness, lazyness, tiredness are not good enough reasons. Will pray that prayer again. Keep well and have a good holiday and rest. X
To which I replied: Thank you S for being to truthful. Well, we need to believe that God believes in us and that if He calls us in our busy life, this means that like Moses, there is a way, that He can open a Way in the Sea of our business, laziness, tiredness and lack of resilience.
Let us use our "good will", put it in His Hands, in a short but honest Prayer. Let us deposit this prayer in the Hands of Mary.
Start with one little thing. Remain faithful to it for 1 to 3 months. Stick to it, as if it is the only thing that matters in your busy life.
This is the first step and it depends on us because the General Help of the Grace of God is given to us.
Keep me updated me please.