Thursday, September 07, 2006

fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - Give me, O Lord, an open, sincere heart, loving the truth, seeking and desiring it at any cost.

1. "Lord, who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle, or who shall rest in Thy holy hill?" asks the Psalmist. And he gives the answer: "He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice"Ps 14; 1,2God is truth, and no one can be admitted to His intimacy who does not as much as he can, to live in truth and to be sincere in all his actions. First of all, we must seek to possess truth in the depths of our heart, that we may know ourselves as we really are in the eyes of God, stripped of all disguise and artificiality. To do this we must accept, not only the truth which please us, but also those which are painful and wound our pride to the quick, revealing our faults and evil tendencies. A person who is sincere never closes his eyes to these truths, but values them, even if they are humiliating, knowing that humiliation which reveals the truth is worth more than illusion which flatters pride and keeps us in error. Sometimes God permits difficult circumstances which are especially hard and trying for the practice of virtue, that we may see the truth and know ourselves as we really are. Under the onset of contradiction, we experience movements, hitherto unknown, surging up within us: movements of anger, rebellion, selfishness, from which perhaps we had had the illusion that we are free. In such cases, instead of turning our gaze away, it is necessary to have courage to recognize these faults and confess them, humbly and frankly. St John of the Cross speaks of certain pious souls who, in confession, "palliate [their sins] and make them appear less evil, and thus...excuse themselves rather than accuse themselves" Dark Night I, 2,4 . A soul that loves the truth is very far from acting in this way; even if it has only venial sins and imperfections of which to accuse itself in confession, it exposes the all very sincerely, without magnifying or minimizing them, never blaming circumstances, but only itself for all that is faulty. Sincerity in confessing our faults is the first step toward freeing ourselves from them.

2. .....Sincerity does not require us to reveal all that we think or know to everyone; this would be contrary to prudence and to other virtues. It does, however, demand that everything we do reveal, by word or act, or even by silence, correspond to truth.

....Teach me, O Lord, to admire Thy eternal truth, and to despise my own vileness" Imit. iii; 4, 2-4

Our Lady with Child Jesus - Discalced Carmelite Convent, Cracow