Meaning and necessity to grow in God’s friendship.
Consumerism, materialism, hedonism…coupled with an ever-faster pace of life of the men and women of our times, together with the advances in technology making it possible for a wide array of immediate sensorial stimulation: these are some factors which make it difficult for us to find God in our life and grow in our friendship with Him.
St. Pope John Paul II once said in a meeting with young people from all over the world:
“The drama of contemporary culture is the lack of interiority, the absence of contemplation. Without interiority culture has no content; it is like a body that has not yet found its soul. What can humanity do without interiority?
Unfortunately, we know the answer very well. When the contemplative spirit is missing, life is not protected and all that is human is denigrated. Without interiority, modern man puts his own integrity at risk.”
Air Base of Cuatro Vientos in Madrid
Saturday, 3 May 2003
As such, if we are to discover the transcendent meaning of our existence, and seek God in the middle of the world, we urgently need to strive daily to recollect ourselves interiorly, and find God who is in our soul in grace and who is awaiting for us in every noble activity.
But what is interior recollection? Below is an excerpt y taken from the Catholic best-seller, In Conversation with God, which is of great help for us to understand its meaning and its necessity.
The presence of the three divine Persons in our souls in grace is a living presence, which is open to our friend ship: they are inviting us to get to know them and to love them. It is up to us to correspond. Why climb the mountains or go down into the valleys of the world looking for him who dwells within us? (St Augustine, De Trinitate, 8, 17), St Augustine asks. But St Gregory tells us: As long as our mind is giddy with carnal images it will never be able to contemplate… because there are as many obstacles blinding it as there are thoughts pulling it hither and thither. Hence, for the soul to contemplate the invisible nature of God, the first step must be: let it be recollected within itself (St Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezechiel, 2, 5).
God asks some people to withdraw from the world to achieve that recollection. But he wants the majority of Christians (housewives, students, employees) to find it in the midst of their daily activities. We keep our senses for God by means of ongoing mortification throughout the day; that’s also the way to interior contentment. We mortify our imagination by putting aside useless thoughts; our memory, by not entertaining memories which don’t bring us closer to God; our will, by fulfilling our timetable of work and our duties, however small they may be.
Concentrated work, if it is offered to God, not only does not obstruct our conversation with God but rather facilitates it. The same applies to our external activity: social relations, family life, leisure time, journeys … Everything in life — except when superficiality predominates — has a profound, intimate dimension; it takes on that dimension when we are recollected and brings it into our friendship with God. Recollection means bringing together what was scattered, re-establishing interior order, controlling our senses as they tend towards dispersion even in things which are good or indifferent; it means having God as the centre of our intentions in what we’re doing and planning.
The opposite to interior recollection is dissipation and superficiality. The senses and faculties dip into whatever pool they meet along the way, and the result is unsettled purpose, scattered attention, deadened will and quickened concupiscence (cf J. Escrivá, The Way, 375). Unless we are recollected we cannot pay attention to God.
The more we purify our heart and our senses, the more recollected we are, the more our soul will long for contact with God, like the deer that yearns for running streams (cf Ps 51:2). Our heart then needs to distinguish and adore each one of the divine Persons. The soul is, as it were, making a discovery in the supernatural life, like an infant opening his eyes to the world about him. The soul spends time lovingly with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and readily submits to the work of the lifegiving Paraclete, who gives himself to us wit/rout any merit on our part (J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 306).
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