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Archive for the ‘recollection’ Category

Silence is the longest precept in the Rule of St. Albert written for the Carmelites. We are instructed to keep silence and to work in silence because “silence is the way to foster holiness.” For Carmelites this precept of silence is seen as a means for recollection, not as penance. It is a privative, though a happy one because it is what makes possible our union with God. This is also the most difficult precept of the Rule. There is noise everywhere! A constant montage of noise fills every moment. And if by chance one can escape the exterior noise and find some solitude, then there is the barrage of interior noise that goes on within one’s own self!

What happens in silence is an amazing thing. Robert Cardinal Sarah has a new book titled The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.  In it he stated that, “What is extraordinary is always silent.” This phrase really stuck a cord and moved me to contemplate this thought more.

He goes on to explain that, “The greatest mysteries of the world are born and unfold in silence.” For example a “tree grows in silence.” “Springs of water flow at first in the silence of the ground.” “The sun that rises over the earth in its splendor and grandeur warms us in silence.” (Sarah, p. 34) Other extraordinary things also came to mind as I read this: The dew appears on the grass in silence, and clouds form and grow gathering in the sky, all in silence. A new human life grows in its mother’s womb in silence. Snowflakes fall to the earth in great silence.

At prayer an extraordinary thing also happens. The soul encounters God and unites with Him in heart, mind and will. Therefore the need to move away from the noise, to find secluded places to be alone with God Alone.

In The Twelve Degrees of Silence by Marie-Aimee de Jesus OCD, she expresses this beautifully. “Just as a flower unfolds in silence and its scent worships its Creator in silence, the interior soul must do likewise.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 54)

To pray in silence. Silence in the presence of God. This is love in action for a contemplative for “The silence of love is love in silence.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 50)

Continue to contemplate these thoughts as I end with one more image from Marie-Aimee de Jesus. “A silent heart is a pure heart; a melody singing in the heart of God. Like a sacristy lamp flickering noiselessly at the tabernacle, and like incense silently rising at the Savior’s throne, such is love’s silence.” (Marie-Aimee de Jesus, p. 51)

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How can one remain in the presence of God? For St. Teresa the Lord can and is to be seen, one just needs to attend to his presence. She would see him “with the eyes of the soul” (Life, Chap 7: 6) So should we since he really is present to us and sees everything and he “never takes his eyes off” of us. He truly is with us. Here is more of what St. Teresa has to say:

“I’m not asking you now that you think about Him, or that you draw out a lot of concepts or make long and subtle reflections with your intellect. I’m not asking you to do anything more than to look at Him. For who can keep you from turning the eyes of your soul toward this Lord, even if you do so just for a moment if you can’t do more? You can look at very ugly things; won’t you be able to look at the most beautiful thing imaginable? Well now, daughters, Your Spouse never takes His eyes off you. He has suffered your committing a thousand ugly offensives and abominations against Him, and this suffering wasn’t enough for Him to cease looking at you. Is it too much to ask you to turn your eyes from these exterior things in order to look at Him sometimes? Behold, He is not waiting for anything else, as He says to the bride, than that we look at Him. In the measure you desire Him, you will find Him. He so esteems our turning to look at Him that no diligence will be lacking on His part’” (Way of Perfection 26: 3)

During any time of prayer we often let that time pass or be lost instead of recollecting them on God, so ask Him to not abandon you during your time of prayer.

Additionally even while occupied physically with others and other occupations one can make brief pauses and interiorly keep recollected with the heart centered and attentive on God. When employed with things like our daily duties, not all our faculties and senses have to be taken up with the task at hand, so let the others be occupied with God. (The Sayings of Light and Love, #117) We can do our daily duties and tasks in such a way that we keep loving attentiveness towards God and His presence. For St. John of the Cross counsels us to “endeavor to remain always in the presence of God, either real, imaginative, or unitive insofar as is permitted by your works.” (Degrees of Perfection)

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Silence is the longest precept in the Rule of St. Albert. For Carmelites this precept of silence is seen as a means for recollection, not as penance. While it is a privative, it is a happy one because it is what makes possible union with God.

Prayer, silence, and solitude -these three things go together and complement each other.

By being silent one is able to stay away the evils that come about in the abuse of words. What do we have to talk about? What is it that we communicate when we speak? Ideas?

No. Actually, most of what we communicate are images and impressions – mostly foolishness and nonsense. But God gave us the gift of speech to communicate ideas. In reality the more we speak the more our interior recollection is clouded. Words which do not express ideas will only manifest matter. Matter just makes dust! While on the contrary, silence makes for recollection. Silence is difficult and poorly observed. This we can all agree. It costs.

For St. John of the Cross to be silent is to be seen in terms of contemplation.

“The Father spoke one Word, which was his Son, and this Word he speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul,” (Sayings of Light and Love #100)

Today try to observe silence. During the day let’s wrap ourselves in silence:

speak little         think little

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rosary

From “Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

For the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary

October Seventh

Presence of God – O most holy Virgin, may the Rosary be my spiritual armor and my school of virtue.

Meditation

1. Today’s Feast is a manifestation of gratitude for the great victories won by the Christian people through the power of Mary’s

Rosary; it is also the most beautiful and authoritative testimony of the value of this prayer. The liturgy of the day is not only a

commentary on the Rosary, but an amplification of it : the three hymns of the Office as well as the antiphons of Matins and

Lauds, review its different mysteries; the lessons chant its glories, and the continual references to the Virgin, who “blossomed as

it were, among the flowers, surrounded by roses and lilies of the valley,” are a clear allusion to the mystical crowns of roses

which Mary’s devoted children weave at her feet when they recite the Rosary. This Feast tells us that to honor the Rosary is to

honor Mary, for the Rosary is simply a meditation on Our Lady’s life, accompanied by the devout recitation of the Hail Mary. It is

for this reason that the Church praises this practice and recommends it so insistently to the faithful. “O God,” she prays in today’s

Collect, “grant that meditating on the mysteries of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what

they contain and obtain what they promise.” The Rosary, if recited well, is both prayer and instruction; its mysteries tell us that in

Mary’s life everything is judged in relation to God ; her sorrows are, so to speak, the very sorrows of God, who being made man,

willed to suffer for the sins of mankind. Mary’s only joy is Jesus : to be His Mother, to clasp Him in her arms, to offer Him for the

adoration of the world, to contemplate Him in the glory of His Resurrection, to be united to Him in Heaven. Mary’s unique sorrow

is the Passion of Jesus : to see Him betrayed, scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified by our sins. This, then, is the first fruit

which we must gather from the recitation of the Rosary : to judge all the events of our life according to their relation to God, to

rejoice in what gives Him pleasure, in what unites us to Him, to suffer for sin which separates us from Him and is the cause of the

Passion and death of Jesus.

2. The second fruit that we should derive from the daily recitation of the Rosary is a penetration into Christ’s mysteries; by Mary

and with Mary, who opens the door to them for us, the Rosary helps us penetrate the ineffable grandeurs of the Incarnation,

Passion, and glory of Jesus. Who is there who has understood and lived these mysteries as Our Lady did? And who better than

she can make us understand them? If, during the recitation of the Rosary, we really know how to put ourselves in spiritual contact

with Mary and to accompany her in the various stages of her life, we shall be able to perceive something of the sentiments of

her heart concerning these great mysteries which she witnessed, and in which she played such an important part; this, in turn,

will serve wonderfully to nourish our souls. Thus, our Rosary will be transformed into a quarter of an hour’s meditation–we might

almost say contemplation–under Mary’s guidance. This is what Mary desires, rather than many Rosaries recited with the lips,

while the mind wanders in a thousand directions! The Hail Mary, continuously repeated, should express the attitude of a soul who

is striving to approach the Blessed Virgin, hastening toward her in order to be captivated by her and given insight into the divine

mysteries. “Ave Maria!” the lips say, and heart murmurs : “Teach me, O Mary, to know and love Jesus as you knew and loved

Him.” Saying the Rosary in this way requires recollection. St. Teresa of Jesus says that “before beginning to recite the Rosary, let

the soul think of whom it is going to address, and who it is that is speaking, that it may speak to Him with due respect” (cf. Way,

22). The Saint, with her keen wit, laughs at those people “who are so fond of repeating a large number of vocal prayers in a great

hurry, as though they were anxious to finish their task of repeating them daily” (ibid., 31). Rosaries recited in this way cannot

really nourish our interior life; they will bring little fruit to the soul and little glory to Mary. On the other hand, if recited with a

real spirit of devotion, the Rosary becomes an effective means of cultivating devotion to Mary and of bringing us into intimacy

with Our Lady and her Divine Son.

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Advent is a time where we await Jesus’ coming. He has already come in the flesh, and this is the reason for this liturgical season – to celebrate anew His coming as Savior and Redeemer. This is also a time to think about His second coming when He will come in Glory. In between these two comings He manifests Himself to us, and it is to these manifestations that we need to be Awake!

This Advent let us invite Him to join us in the interior of our heart: in deep recollection, in silence and in solitude. Invite Him in through a deep interior recollection combined with silence that is both interior and exterior and in solitude so that we can hear His voice and prepare for His coming however He may manifest His presence.

This is a season of quiet. A time to set aside useless chatter, self-love, sensitiveness, the prattle of fantasy and imaginings, and the thoughts that flit from here to there. In addition it is a time to get rid of any preoccupation with useless things, so that we can listen and hear the Lord speak. In this way we can be awake and attentive and will not miss “the time of His visitation”. (Luke 19:44)

“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come…May he not come suddenly and find us sleepy.” (Mark 13)

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Struggling with distractions at prayer? Check out the discussion on this short video here.

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“It is only natural to think of someone you love.” ~ St. Therese

 If I don’t have time for devotions and prayers I can take up the practice of the Presence of God. Motivated by love and a desire to please Him, I can develop the habit of being attentive and aware of God at all times. After all, He is always near me residing in the depths of my heart.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, defines this “Practice of the Presence of God” this way:

“to take delight in and to become accustomed to his divine company speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him at all times, every moment without rule or measure.”

 Read more here over at Suscipio.

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