Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 7 pt 2 ” – “Then my suffering is “a message which passes on the glory” of the Eternal” From “Last Retreat Day 7 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1: 18. “Night to night announces it.” 106 How very consoling that is! My weaknesses, … Read more
Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 8 pt 1 ” – “To be rooted and grounded in love” From “Last Retreat Day 8 pt 1” found in The Complete Works vol 1: 20. “And they do not rest day and night, saying, Holy holy , holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, … Read more
Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 8 pt 2 ” – “Adoration, ah! That is a word from Heaven!” From “Last Retreat Day 8 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1: 21. “They fall down and adore, they cast down their crowns. . . .” First of all the soul should … Read more
Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 9 pt 1 ” – “Adoration, ah! That is a word from Heaven!” From “Last Retreat Day 9 pt 1” found in The Complete Works vol 1: 22. “Be holy for I am holy.” 126 Who then is this who can give such a command? . . . He Himself … Read more
From “Last Retreat Day 9 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1:
23. Speaking to Abraham God said: “Walk in My presence and be perfect.” 134 This then is the way to achieve this perfection that our Heavenly Father asks of us! St. Paul, after having immersed himself in the divine counsels, 135 revealed exactly this to us when he wrote “God has chosen us in Him before the creation of the world, that we might be holy and immaculate in His presence in love.” 136 It is also by the light of this same saint that I will be enlightened so that I might walk without deviating from this magnificent road of the presence of God on which the soul journeys “alone with the Alone,” 137 led by the “strength of His right arm,” 138 “under the protection of His wings, without fearing the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the evil that stalks in darkness, nor the attacks of the noonday devil. 139
24. “Strip off the old man in whom you lived your former life, “ he tells me, “and put on the new man, who has been created according to God in justice and holiness.” 140 This is the way set forth; we have only to strip off self to follow it as God wills! To strip off self, to die to self, to lose sight of self. It seems to me the Master meant this when He said: “If anyone wants to follow Me, let him take up his cross and deny himself.” 141 “If you live according to the flesh,” the Apostle also says, “you will die, but if you put to death in the spirit the works of the flesh, you will live.” 142 This is the death that God asks for and of which it is said: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 143 “O death,” says the Lord, “I will be your death”; 144 that is: O soul, my adopted daughter, look at Me and you will forget yourself; flow entirely into My Being, come die in Me that I may live in you!
25. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 145 When my Master makes me understand these words in the depths of my soul, it seems to me that He is asking me to live like the Father “in an eternal present,” “with no before, no after,” but wholly in the unity of my being in this “eternal now.” 146 What is this present? This is what David tells me: “They will adore Him always because of Himself.” 147 This is the eternal present in which Laudem Gloriae must be established. But for her to be truly in this attitude of adoration, so that she can sing, “I will awake the dawn,” 148 she must also be able to say with St. Paul, “For love of Him I have forfeited everything”; 149 that is: because of Him, that I may adore Him always, I am “alone, set apart, stripped” of all things, both with regard to the natural as well as the supernatural gifts of God. For a soul that is not thus “destroyed and freed” 150 from self will of necessity be trivial and natural at certain moments, and that is not worthy of a daughter of God, a spouse of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit. To guard against this natural life the soul must be wholly vigilant in her faith151 with her gaze turned towards the Master. Then she “can walk,” as the royal prophet sings, “in the integrity of her heart within her house.” 152 Then she “will adore her God always because of Himself” and will live, like Him, in that eternal present where He lives. . . .
From “Last Retreat Day 10 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1:
26. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” “God,” says St. Dionysius, “is the great solitary.” 153 My Master asks me to imitate this perfection, to pay Him homage by being a great solitary. The divine Being lives in an eternal, immense solitude. He never leaves it, though concerning Himself with the needs of His creatures, for He never leaves Himself; and this solitude is nothing else than His divinity.
So that nothing may draw me out of this beautiful silence within, I must always maintain the same dispositions, the same solitude, the same withdrawal, the same stripping of self! If my desires, my fears, my joys or my sorrows, if all the movements proceeding from these “four passions” 154 are not perfectly directed to God, I will not be solitary: there will be noise within me. There must be peace, “sleep of the powers,” 155 the unity of being. “Listen, my daughter, lend your ear, forget your people and your father’s house, and the King will become enamoured of your beauty.” 156
It seems to me that this call is an invitation to silence: listen . . . lend your ear. . . . But to listen we must forget “our father’s house,” that is, everything that pertains to the natural life, this life to which the Apostle refers when he says: “If you live according to the flesh, you will die.” 157 To forget “your people” is more difficult, I think, for this people is everything which is, so to speak, part of us: our feelings, our memories, our impressions, etc., the self, in a word! We must forget it, abandon it, and when the soul has made this break, when it is free from all that, the King is enamored of its beauty. For beauty is unity, at least it is the unity of God!
From “Last Retreat Day 11 pt 1” found in The Complete Works vol 1:
27. “The Lord brought me into a spacious place, because He was gracious toward me. . . .” 159 The Creator, seeing the beautiful silence which reigns in His creature, and gazing on her wholly recollected in her interior solitude, is enamored of her beauty and leads her into this immense, infinite solitude, into this “spacious place” sung of by the prophet, which is nothing else but Himself: “I will enter into the depths of the power of God.” 160 Speaking through his prophet, the Lord said: “I will lead her into solitude and speak to her heart.” 161 The soul has entered into this vast solitude in which God will make Himself heard! “His word,” St. Paul says, “is living and active, and more penetrating than a two edged sword: extending even to the division of soul and spirit, even of joints and marrow.” 162 It is His word then that will directly achieve the work of stripping in the soul; for it has this particular characteristic, that it effects and creates what it intends, 163 provided however that the soul consents to let this be done.
Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 11 pt 2 ” – “It is the whole Trinity who dwells in the soul that loves them in truth, that is, by keeping their word!
From “Last Retreat Day 11 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1:
28. But it is not enough just to listen to this word, we must keep it! 164 And it is in keeping it that the soul will be “sanctified in the truth,” and that is the desire of the Master: “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” 165 To the one who keeps His word has He not made this promise: “My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home in him”? 166 It is the whole Trinity who dwells in the soul that loves them in truth, that is, by keeping their word! And when this soul has realized its riches, all the natural or supernatural joys that can come to it from creatures or from God Himself are only an invitation to reenter into itself in order to enjoy the substantial Good that it possesses, which is nothing else than God Himself. And thus it has, St. John of the Cross says, a certain resemblance to the divine Being. 167
“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” St. Paul tells me “that He works all things according to the counsel of His will,” 168 and my Master asks me also to pay Him homage in this regard: “to do all things according to the counsel of His will.” Never to let myself be ruled by impressions, by the first impulses of nature, but to let the will gain self-mastery. . . . And for this will to be free, it must be, in the expression of a pious writer, “enclosed in God’s will.” 169 Then I will be “moved by His Spirit,” 170 as St. Paul says. I will do only what is divine, only what is eternal, and, like my Unchanging One, I will live even here below in an eternal present.
Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 12 ” – “God has said: “Be holy, for I am holy.”
31. This is Christ’s work in every soul of good185 will and it is the work that His immense love, His “exceeding love,” 186 is eager to do in me. He wants to be my peace so that nothing can distract me or draw me out of “the invincible fortress of holy recolletion.” 187 It is there that He will give me “access to the Father” and will keep me as still and as peaceful in His presence as if my soul were already in eternity. 188 It is by the Blood of His Cross that He will make peace in my little heaven, so that it may truly be the repose of the Three. He will fill me with Himself; He will bury me with Him; He will make me live again with Him, by His life: “Mihi vivere Christus est!” 189 And if I fall at every moment, 190 in a wholly confident faith I will be helped up by Him. I know that He will forgive me, that He will cancel out everything with a jealous care, and even more, He will “despoil” me, He will “free” 191 me from all my miseries, from everything that is an obstacle to the divine action. “He will lead away all my powers,” 192 making them His captives, triumphing over them in Himself. Then I will have wholly passed into Him and can say: “I no longer live. My Master lives in me!” 193 And I will be “holy, pure, without reproach” in the Father’s eyes.