Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On recollection and necessity of prayer

In all thy ways think of Him, and He will direct thy steps (Prov 3:6)

The thoughts of God, the necessary foundation of the life of Faith.
In order to obtain this life of perfect faith it is not sufficient to renounce sensible sweetnesses; we must also, as far as possible, drive all profane objects and wordly cares from the mind, and nourish the soul assiduously on the mysteries of the faith; or, rather, the soul must feed on God - it must, in fact, inhale God and exhale Him. Respiration is necessary process of the natural life. This marvelous phenomenon, which fails to excite our admiration merely because it is so familiar to us, causes us to find in the atmosphere the salutary element which purifies our blood and sustains our vital heat and our life. If this necessary function is accomplished normally, it is because the body is healthy and the organs sound. If the air that we breathe is pure, dry, and buoyant, our health is maintained, or, if necessary, improved; if it is charged with humidity or putrid exhalations, the health is affected, and death may even ensue. God is the vivifying principle of the faithful soul. It must breathe Him constantly, must seek in Him - in the thought of Him and of His love, that is to say - the perpetual renewal of its spiritual life. And we can only exhale what we have previously inhaled; the air which issues from the lungs is equal in volume to that which has passed into them. So he alone who has drunk deep of the Divine sweetness can exhale God, breathing forth round about him the Divine perfume. And we give it out in the precise measure in which we have acquired it. If we content ourselves with some few daily aspirations, our spiritual life will be feeble and languishing; if we absorb the Divine fragrance at but rare intervals, how can we emit it freely day by day? Their error is great who think to continue in a state of union with God by conformity of the will while they lose sight of Him for considerable periods of time. They withdraw from Him insensibly; the atmosphere of their surroundings penetrates them by degrees; natural preoccupations invade their minds, absorb them, and become predominant; and the desire to serve God, without being destroyed, is thus restrained, and its exercise upon the actions becomes slight and intermittent. And so the spiritual life declines, and a purely natural, or even an entirely mundane, life may take its place. He who arrives at this extremity, he who has ceased to sustain his life in God, who no longer breathes anything but the vitiated air of the world, who in his conversations, thoughts, and sentiments inhales only the poisonous miasma of sin - what can such a one exhale but an impure and nauseating breath? Woe to those that approach him! for they run grave risk of being contaminated by this infection and of contracting his most foul disease.

credits:"On recollection and union with God" fragment of book chapter by Abbe Saudreau, and the accompanying picture is entitled ....."Prayer"