by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Progress in Divine Union
Part One is Here.
We ought to begin early in the morning. Someone asked St. John Vianney for advice on how to remain united with God at every moment. The saint responded by revealing what he did himself: “At the beginning of the day, I try to unite myself closely to our Lord, and then I act with the thought of that union.”
Further, we should endeavor to fall asleep thinking of God, and should our sleep be broken, try even then to avoid the admission of any distracting ideas.
Upon arising, before we allow the preoccupations of the day to engross us, we ought to make a gentle but firm effort to fix ourselves in God. This is of tremendous importance if the hour of prayer follows close upon the hour of arising.
Night gives us a free, clear mind; since the last movement of our soul before going to sleep was supernatural, it is fitting that we oppose any intrusion of distracting ideas that might trouble us at prayer.
If, for some reason, the time for prayer must be set for later in the day, as is often the case with the mother of a family, it is no less important, since very often all depends upon a good start.
A lively recollection of the divine presence within us, or of approaching Holy Communion; the thought of the sanctification of our day, which will help to make up the immense ensemble of the life of souls; the gripping realization of prayer needed for sinners and of reparation to be offered for the world for its sins of the night that has passed; the feast of the day, if the Liturgy holds a special appeal -any such thought will establish contact with God.
We must use what best succeeds for us. But it must be something definite, strong, truly stimulating, and expressed with a maximum of love. The warmer the air and the stronger the wind, the higher the balloon rises. It is a question, we must not forget, of elevation.
To unite ourselves to God is first and foremost a supernatural act. We must, then, earnestly beg from Heaven the necessary help that the Lord may multiply His advances and that we may have the quiet of soul and the required courage to correspond to His interior solicitations.
We must pray humbly and persistently, convinced that alone, without God’s powerful grace, we shall fail.
In the spiritual diary of young Lyautey, the following significant entry was found under the date of October 1876, at which time the future marshal, then twenty-two, was taking an officer’s course at Saint Cyr:
“You think you are holy; you really believe you are worth something because I have flooded you with graces…. But what have you done? You have never struggled.”
Without ceasing, I have sent you my inspirations as I am giving them to you now at this moment; without out ceasing, I have allowed you to be recollected, and you have never known how to make use of my revelations.
Instead of recognizing that it was I who deigned to speak to you, you persisted in believing that in your fruitful reflections it was you who elevated yourself above your life through your own generous efforts, and looking upon yourself with admiration, you became self-complacent.
How can you hope to meditate with profit when, instead of withdrawing from yourself, of establishing silence in your soul, you become, as it were, two persons, the one prostrate before the other; the one seeming to pray while the other extols him saying, `You are great; you are noble; you are holy; you are generous.’
Even now as I speak to you, are you not inclined to admire yourself because you are attentive to me? Think, then, my son, of all those to whom I do not speak at all. Think of the absolutely special graces you have received.
What wisdom in this young officer’s meditation! We so readily believe that of ourselves we are capable of something. Should it happen that we enjoy consolations, we imagine that these divine favors are the reward of our goodwill. The failure of many of our efforts toward union with God can be laid to our secret pride.
There will be some things, of course, that very soon they will not want to do for her..dull, dreary things, fetching, cleaning, carrying. But these also they must be trained to do. The mother will often want to save time and trouble by doing them for herself, but if she does she will hurt her children’s character. She must train them young to work for others, to be unselfish, to give. -Dominican Nun, Australia, 1950’s
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Hey thought provoking that prayer at the end, wow. Thank you!