Saturday, September 26, 2009
Your heart communicates directly with the Heart of Christ in the blissful adoration of simple regard
"We cannot see Christ and remain as we are. We cannot exchange a look with Christ and not be overcome with a total conversion.
This is what I would like to help you to do: to lead you to Christ so that you might, in the silence of retreat, exchange that glance with Christ; a true, living, and real contact that is not the fruit of the imagination, but rather reaches the heart of things as they are. Christ is a living being who is here, there, and everywhere. To see Christ, we must become poor. Riches drag down the soul. One has to become small in stature, that is, detached from the goods of this world, for such riches foster earthly desires. As you are well aware, Saint john of the Cross warns: ”Whether one is attached to earth by a silken thread or a old cable, the result is the same: one cannot soar to the heights.” One attachment, however small, that violates obedience, poverty, or chastity, and draws us away from God, may be nothing by worldly standards. Nonetheless, that attachment comes between God and ourselves and impedes our ascent toward sanctity.
Christ is all in all. Through him, all is made; through him all comes to us. Therefore, we must see Christ. I stress this point; we must truly see Christ. I sometimes think that we should define the term Christian as “Someone who has seen Christ.” There are only a few genuine Christians, because only a few souls have seen Christ. Countless baptized persons, including even ordained priests and professed religious, remain lukewarm in spirit. Such tepid souls do not pulsate with life nor are they enthusiastic enough to give their life for Christ. They have never seen Christ. Their knowledge of the Lord is verbal, not vital. However, we must strive to love Christ passionately and prepare to see him face to face when we die. The soul that neither misses Christ now nor longs to see him at life’s end does not honestly love him. To make such a claim would be a lie. When we love someone, we long to see that person, even at the risk of death. All the more so, given him limitless love, we want to long to see Christ face to face.
Let us now turn our attention to Saint John of the Cross. In his splendid writings, he explains how the person who loves God gradually pierces the veil that keeps us from seeing the Lord. Eventually, the moment comes, when that veil is totally sundered and the person goes forth to our beloved God.
When I speak of seeing Christ, I mean the mysterious, misty vision of faith, which is the fruit of the prayer of simple regard and not the result of any activity on our part. I mean the experience of being “swept up” by Christ himself. When we have diligently devoted ourselves to charity, obedience, service, and self-control, and when Christ has seen the constancy of our commitment, then he himself comes to us. On that day, we become enveloped in the divine being and ecstatically discover the presence of God himself. We know that the Lord is there. He speaks to us, but not in words. The human heart communicates directly with the heart of Christ in the blissful adoration of simple regard. This heartfelt vision of Christ compels the soul so to love Christ and so to make him loved that nothing else on earth can inspire greater love than the Lord. Wealth then is as nothing and poverty is prized precisely because is allows us greater intimacy with Christ. No other comfort, no other countenance and no other solace suffices. Christ alone provides satisfaction.
How glorious is this intimacy with Christ!"
-- Listen to the Silence: A Retreat with Père Jaques edited by Francis J Murphy