Sunday, November 27: "God's desire".
We can never get used to the mystery of the Incarnation; It must always be a source of wonder, not only that of children before the manger, we also find, but the wonder in the face of this God who Stoops, who takes body and that between freely in time and space.
These four conferences will accompany you all along this pure advent to help you prepare your hearts for the Savior. I propose a spiritual path, that I hope will feed you each week, as a recollection.
The first time will be dedicated to desire, specifically the desire to God. What this desire that marks this time of advent? I will start with the Psalms 37: "Lord, all my desire is before you." (v.10), and Psalm 41: "Like a thirsty deer seeking living water, so my soul seek you you, my God." (v.1)
Are we researchers of God? Is our heart stretched to this living water? It's our prayer; the great St. Augustine, commenting on these Psalms written: "your wish is your prayer; If your desire is continual, prayer is continual... your continuous desire; If your desire is continuous, your prayer is continual... your continuous desire will be your continual voice. You'll fall in silence, if you let down your love. The cooling of the charity, it's the silence of the heart; the flame of charity, it is a cry from the heart. If the charity remains constantly, constantly as you scream; If you scream constantly, constantly as you want.
St. Augustine gives us a pure test check if our prayer is desire and vice versa, is charity. What grace that our whole being will become a Holy desire, that our prayer is the breath of our heart.
So the first question is that of the desire. Remember the first question of Christ to the disciples who followed him: "What do you seek?" and answer to him: "where do you live?
We must cleanse our desire, and it is Christ who helps us.
To Nicodemus, is the purification of imperfect desires; in the discourse on the bread of life, it is the purification of earthly desires.
For the Samaritan woman, it is recognition of his misery, but the paralytic. It is the recognition of his powerlessness.
At Lazarus, is the recognition of his death, and then I can resume all meetings that Jesus made in the Gospel.
The big obstacle is our sufficiency. She is constantly denounced by the prophets and the Psalms. Advent is this special time to go from light to love. But we are satisfied; the consumer society arouses in us superficial desires that disappear when we have what we want, and through advertising of new desires reappear.
The spiritual desire is quite different; It can only grow! But for that, we must accept to depend on God and implies to change the anchor point, no more rely on our own strength, but because of our poverty, relying on God, it's called hope or if you want, it is the grace of the first beatitude: "blessed are the poor of heart, because the Kingdom of heaven is to them." (Mt 5: 3), indeed a poor heart is ready to receive all of God!
But become a disciple of Christ, is it not accept to follow the path of desire. Then we will not risk of succumbing to the temptation to satisfied with the first results. It is true that sometimes we stop in the first came hostel, but do not settle! We do not stand still in spiritual life, we advance or back and we often shrink faster that progresses! Our spiritual life is a climb that should not lead to discouragement. I like this phrase of St. Gregory of NYSSA, next father of the fourth century. One who climbs never stops to go beginning in the beginning; and the beginnings of the higher realities have never end never whoever monte stop his desire to what he already knows. but rising successively, by another desire to us new and larger, to another superior, the soul proceeds to infinity through always highest ascents. "(Canticle of canticles P. G. 44,94 OC comment)
God remains so still "looked him" and the man finds God only by searching; such is the desire that causes a new ascension, God is eternally gushing source in mind. It dries up the lust but not the desire.
Ascension is never completed: "finding God is constantly looking for him... the desire of the soul is filled by the same he remains insatiable." Because that is where properly seeing God than to be never satiated to desire. "(Life of Moses, 405)
Do not think that this road is reserved for the mystics. You are all Mystics through the baptism! At the heart of every man, there is this desire to see God.
Let's take a few moments on this beautiful text. Before the famous "climb of Carmel" of St. John of the cross, Gregory is as the first guide the market towards God. While the mystery of God is inaccessible because it is the all-other: "O you, beyond everything, how call you it another name? What song can sing you? No word don't Express you"and yet, we need to make this climb to discover a reflection, before the final vision that we will have after our Passover! Launched forward, we turn our backs on the false illusions, we we tear the passions proposed by our world and who rate us by paralysing our growth. One who is seduced by appearances stops. He stomps and resembles a man walking on the dune: she snorts in his footsteps and prevents them from moving forward. Those who let themselves absorb by pleasure or entertainment to gives the illusion of walking.
Is that to progress, the soul must emerge gradually of the sensitive gravity that adds it - faith is this pullout to earthly realities to receive from God the food that comes from the sky, the manna which adapts to our need and our ability. Not supplies, security, but just what it takes, the bread of the day, as we say in the "our father". Then gradually pierces a new joy that comes from somewhere else, it's the sweetness of God - quicksand desert people of a presence that seems to make it bloom. However, one who follows Christ eventually perceive it; "Follow God wherever he leads, it even is to see God." (Life of Moses, 408)
It is true that the spiritual journey of alternations of light and shadow, glare and darkness, discovery and solitude. More we seem to approach, over the treetops appears far away, because God will remain elusive. But Gregory added: 'this knowledge of God in the darkness, is a real knowledge and it is likely an infinite progress. That's the big secret: it's the true vision of God consists in the fact that those who turn to him never ceases to desire in this. And this is where actually see God never finding of satiety to this desire. "(XLIV, 404, A - D)
In saying this, Gregory of NYSSA does not deter us to do theology, well on the contrary! He wants that we purify our desire by humility; We are creatures, but created in the image of God, which allows us to union with God in contemplation. Let's hear it once again: "in things that are inside realities from above, he is not allowed to the creature out of its porpres limits, but she must be content to know itself, and you should be silent. In these things, the silence is the best. "(XLIV, 732)
We do the test of knowledge that God has for us and he gives us, in the work he does in us. The heart subsides, recognizing more and more the source of this truth which is fulfilled in him: "unify my heart that fear your name. St. Augustine in his commentary on the first letter of John shows us how the desire dilates the heart: "the life of the Christian is a Holy desire. What you want, you don't see it yet; but in who so wishes you become able to be filled when you want to see will come... God by deferring to give, expand don desire; by the desire it broadens your soul; expanding it, it makes it desire; by the desire it broadens your soul; expanding it, it makes it able to receive it; It's our life, practice by the desire; "(Comment St. Jean IV, 6)
So how is that desire? This is the role of prayer.
Prayer is a gift from the heart and not a work of the spirit! It's a love going back to another love and this is the fruit of the holy spirit that spreading his love in our hearts.
The Christian in search of God is sure to find him, to be filled beyond its desires, of goods so big that words can't describe them. "Our love is all in desire; He is not yet satisfied, but everything in our desires we ask in the name of the son, the father gives." (Hom. on St. Jean 86.3)
And even if the Christian by mistake, wonder in his prayer, one which does not suit him, God grant him giving him something different from what he asks and best!
But where the desire? In our heart. "God hears us point like a?, but by the presence of his Majesty." (Comm. Ps 5, 2)
We were created for this: be holy, living in love, in the presence of God. So we cry to the father not the voice, but by the heart.
Let us remember in our prayers, that God is present in our hearts by his presence of graces; presence of vastness, presence sometimes identified with the indwelling of the Holy Trinity.
Our prayer requires then be internalized because at its core it identifies itself with our love, which is our true song and the most intimate reality ourselves.
"You love, and in silence: love itself, this is the new song." (Comm. Ps 85.2)
It is a prayer which is to become silence to vibrate in its original purity.
Force back in prayer to his supernatural root, we can identify it with the desire that is the intimate movement of the heart. Where the unceasing prayer: the words stop, vanish, but the desire, he is still in failure. It is one of the keys to prayer.
"It is in the soul another prayer, inner one and has not stopped, it is desire. Whatever you do, if you want the eternal Sabbath, you don't stop to pray. "(Ps 37: 14)
So in this season of advent, we could treat our development in the presence of God, to be that desire. Then our prayer will be towards the heavenly Jerusalem. If constant is our desire, the peace of the rest will be at the bottom of our hearts.
There is a movement of the soul, that is the love which translates the desire.
Exercise our desire grow our union to the Lord with our whole being. This is why prayer changes us from the inside; We adapt to God; our desire is no longer a subject, but God himself and our prayer then ends with acceptance of the will of the father. Prayer changes my being because I model myself on God.
But this prayer is a school of life. We need to make sure that our prayer is real, which is verified by a genuine sense of God - our only desire is true charity.
"If you want to be a lover of God, love him in sincerity as deep as the marrow of your bones in the chastity of aspirations, love him, burn him, open to him; you won't find anything more cheerful. "(Comm. Ps 85: 8)
It is true that it takes patience, because it's not easy to become the true poor of God. We must realize that to pray is to become capable of God!
To progress in our prayer, I invite you to look at Christ. It will become a presence, a presence that I cannot grasp, but which always leads me further. Prayer life is Jesus in us. It becomes then all internal, only model to follow, but he who is in us as he is in the father - our prayer is only a prayer to Jesus, but the prayer of Jesus in us. There is for the man of true access to the father in Jesus. This is when man discovered Jesus he was a true experience of meeting, that his prayer reaches its perfection.
"Whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the father may be glorified in the son." If you ask me anything in my name I'll do it. "(Jn 14: 13-14)
Prayer of one who remains in Jesus and his word becomes an entry in life Trinitarian. More I will enter the intimacy of the Christ, I'll be sure to be fulfilled.
We are never alone in our prayer. She leads us to intimacy with the father and it opens our hearts to the world by the charity. It takes everything that we are and we purifying, takes us to the depths of God. It is movement, out of itself to be a gift to another.
Sometimes we sometimes complicate our prayer - in the Gospel, it's so simple - prayer merely expose the reality as it is. Thus Mary at Cana: "they have no wine" (Jn 2: 4). Similarly Mary and Martha: "The one you love is sick."
The prayer is also a request. Don't let us be complexed because we ask something to the Lord. Check simply that our prayer is not only an incessant application, but also a praise and a Thanksgiving, without forgetting the intercession. It is true that the man sometimes misunderstands the true purpose of his prayer; Yet it is God himself who urged him to make his requests - simply to respect freedom! Because God knows what the man needs!
Christ makes us discover our true desire. We start from the immediate need to rise up to the revelation of the true life. This is how the prayer becomes a profession of faith:
It is the prayer of Nathaniel: "Rabbi, you are the son of God."
It is the prayer of Peter: 'we believe, and we recognized that you are the Holy one of God.'
It is the prayer of Thomas: "My Lord and my God."
I would have the opportunity to make a series of conferences on prayer, but you should know that prayer is being drawn by the son with his father, Dormouse to withdraw into itself, opens to embrace the world.
Take advantage of this first week of advent, to return to the path of prayer that will grow in us the desire to contemplate the mystery of Christmas: "A small child, the son of the eternal father."
"Yes, Lord, come, don't be late. Do we share your privacy with your father. »
Born October 11, 1951, Patrick CHAMBERS is ordained a priest of the diocese of Paris in 1980 by cardinal François MARTY. Professor of french, latin and Greek from 1972 to 1975 and the institution of Holy Cross in Neuilly, or after his ordination, he became chaplain. He was appointed in September 1984 Director of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice at Issy-les. Professor [...]