Friday, December 29, 2006

Idiot's Guide to Prayer Part II - Awareness of God's indwelling

This is a very nice article from the Cukierski Family Apostolate [ ]--an apostolate "specializing in sacramentals of healing and protection." Part of their apostolate is to send spiritual articles via email (free). This is a great article to read during this Christmas season where we focus on the Incarnation--Emmanuel--"God with us." Enjoy.

Where to Find Heaven!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P. Used withpermission, from the Passionist Priests, to help spiritually guide the layman.

The thin, gray-haired penitent hunched over a rough table as he slowly penned a letter to his sister. Looking at him now, you'd never dream that he had been a French Army officer, an explorer, a member of the Foreign Legion, and even a Trappist. His wild life had caused his expulsion from the Legion, but now he was leading a life more penitential than a Trappist!

"God is in us," the ex-Trappist wrote, "in the depths of our soul, He listens to us-advises us to converse with Him. Train your children to chat freely with this Divine Guest. And may you do likewise. In performing your duties, God will perform them with you. Gradually, you will become accustomed to this sweetCompanion-to this God of your heart."

It was the truth of the Divine Indwelling that had transformed the life of [Blessed] Charles de Foucald [pictured at top left]. He knew by experience what our Lord means when He promised: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and My Father will love him and We will come to him." (John 14:23). De Foucald was constantly aware of the Indwelling of God by grace.

We all envy this wonderful trait. And we often wish that we could be more conscious of the nearness of God. We know that a profound appreciation of this truth alone could refashion our daily lives.

Why aren't we like de Foucald? Perhaps we really aren't convinced that God is anxious to be invited to our interior home-and to be entertained in the depths of our hearts. Listen then to the author of the Imitation [of Christ] : "God pays frequent visits to the interior man. He speaks to him with kindness. He grants him amazing familiarity, an abundant peace, an astonishing familiarity. Oh, grant Him a place there."

For your enjoyment, God decorated the heavens with the sun, moon, and stars. For you, He clothed the earth with the flowers and the fields, the streams and the mountains. But amidst all these wonders and in all the vastness of the universe, there is but one place He designed for His occupancy-and that is yourheart.

A young French Carmelite of the past century also centered her spiritual life on this dynamic truth. Writing to her sister, Sister Elizabeth [of the Trinity] said: "It seems to me that this is the secret of holiness, and how simple it is. We bear life within us and our life is an anticipated heaven...I have found my heaven on earth, for heaven is God-and God is within my soul."

At another time, writing to a married sister, she said: "This heaven is in the inmost center of the soul. Is not this a simple and consoling thought? In th midst of your cares as a mother and housewife, you can always withdraw into this solitude. When you are distracted by your many duties, you can-if youwill-refresh yourself by descending into the depth where your Divine Guest has His dwelling."

There are four ways especially to build up your awareness of God's dwelling inyour soul:

1) Attention. Be thoughtful enough to recall His Presence often. An interior glance takes but a moment; a short prayer, a moment more.

2) Conversation. Speak to your indwelling God frequently. But speak to Him as present. Speak to Him in your own words. Be spontaneous and simple.

3) Renunciation. Firmly resolve to renounce absolutely whatever would evict your Divine Guest. Mortal sin desecrates His Temple and drives God away.

4) Imitation. As imitation is the highest form of praise, strive to be more Godlike in all things. The spiritual life is above all else a loving friendship with the Blessed Trinity. Imitation is the proof of love. Yes, anyone can find his heaven on earth, because Heaven is God-and God is in your soul!

For more information on Blessed Charles De Foucault and his spirituality, see, for example:

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