Thursday, June 25, 2009

How the heart should be gathered within itself

How the heart should be gathered within itself

What is more, as is said in the book On the Spirit and the Soul (of St.
Augustine),
to ascend to God means to enter into oneself. He who
entering within and penetrating his inmost nature, goes beyond himself,
he is truly ascending to God. So let us withdraw our hearts from the
distractions of this world, and recall them to the inner joys, so that
we can establish them to some degree in the light of divine
contemplation.
For this is the life and peace of our hearts - to be
established by intent in the love of God, and to be sweetly remade by
his comforting.
But the reason why we are in so many ways hindered in
the practical enjoyment of this matter and are unable to get into it is
clearly because the human mind is so distracted by worries that it
cannot bring its memory to turn within, is so clouded by its
imaginations that it cannot return to itself with its understanding,
and is so drawn away by its desires that it is quite unable to come
back to itself by desire for inner sweetness and spiritual joy. Thus it
is so prostrate among the sense objects presented to it that it cannot
enter into itself as the image of God. It is therefore right and
necessary for the mind to raise itself above itself and everything
created by the abandonment of everything, with humble reverence and
great trust, and to say within itself, He whom I seek, love, thirst for
and desire from everything and more than anything is not a thing of the
senses or the imagination, but is above everything that can be
experienced by the senses and the intellect. He cannot be experienced
by any of the senses, but is completely desirable to my will. He is
moreover not discernable, but is perfectly desirable to my inner
affections. He cannot be comprehended, but can be loved in his fullness
with a pure heart, for he is above all lovable and desirable, and of
infinite goodness and perfection. And then a darkness comes over the
mind and it is raised up into itself and penetrates even deeper. And
the more inward-looking the desire for it, the more powerful this means
of ascent to the mysterious contemplation of the holy Trinity in Unity
and Unity in Trinity in Jesus Christ is, and
the more interior the
yearning, the more productive it is.
Certainly in matters spiritual the
more inward they are the greater they are as spiritual experiences. For
this reason, never give up, never stop until you have tasted some
pledge, as I might say, or foretaste of the future full experience, and
until you have obtained the satisfaction of however small a first
fruits of the divine joy. And do not give up pursuing it and following
its scent until you have seen the God of gods in Sion. Do not stop or
turn back in your spiritual journey and your union and adherence to God
within you until you have achieved what you have been seeking. Take as
a pattern of this the example of those climbing an ordinary mountain.
If our mind is involved by its desires in the things which are going on
below, it is immediately carried away by endless distractions and side
tracks, and being to some extent divided against itself, is weakened
and as it were scattered amongst the things which it seeks with its
desires. The result is ceaseless movement, travel without an arrival,
and labour without rest. If on the other hand our heart and mind can
withdraw itself by its desire and love from the infinite distraction
below of the things beneath it, can learn to be with itself, abandoning
these lower things and gathering itself within itself into the one
unchanging and satisfying good, and can hold to it inseparably with its
will, it is correspondingly more and more gathered together in one and
strengthened, as it is raised up by knowledge and desire. In this way
it will become accustomed to the true supreme good within itself until
it will be made completely immovable and arrive securely at that true
life which is the Lord God himself, so that it can now rest in him
within and in peace without any changeability or vicissitude of time,
perfectly gathered within itself in the secret divine abode in Christ
Jesus who is the way for those who come to him, the truth and life.
Part 7 of "On Cleaving to God" Saint Albert of Jerusalem
Have a blessed day,
Linda

2 comments:

carmelitemom said...

Wonderful Linda. I have really been trying to practice being present in the present moment and when our focus is there, there is nothing to pull us in the past or into the future. It is freeing!

Lynny said...

Yes the Lord has led me over the years in Carmel to the practice of the presence of God. It is true freedom of spirit.
Thank you for you comment.
Linda