Sermons

Summary: The voice of Jesus that speaks in the gospel pages is the same voice that hides in the language of divine silence. But if we do not hear the one, we are unlikely to hear the other

“We initiate a time of prayer sensibility when we prostrate ourselves before God in adoration. We bow in adoration because of two truths—our own nothingness and God’s infinite goodness. The act of adoring God prepares our soul for the God who remains hidden always even as we meet him. His concealment is a presence encountered best in our own prostration. If we lift our eyes too quickly for him, we miss this mysterious concealed proximity. We know his presence with greater certainty with our face plunged to the ground. The prostration submits our soul’s desire to God. Our eyes, now full of dust, are ready to look blindly towards God alone.”—page 95

“One common sign of contemplative holiness is a greater spiritual passion for intercession. The needs other others dominate attention more in these souls. This cannot be deflected; it becomes irrefutable. Contemplative souls seem to carry to solicitation of others without strain, almost effortlessly...The readiness to intercede is a sign of what may be a permanent disposition in heaven. The saints in heaven are souls who intercede without rest, and it may be they do this in a manner much like the request of Mary the contemplative to Jesus regarding her brother Lazarus—“the one whom you love is ill” (John 11:3). For surely it was the contemplative soul who composed the simple and bare words of this request.”—page 176

“‘My desire for God seems to have made my soul dissatisfied with everything that used to provide diversion for it.’ Such a person may be at the beginning of greater graces in prayer. But perhaps it is best to ask whether that same person would lay down an hour of prayer for the need of another person.”—page 191

“The voice of Jesus that speaks in the gospel pages is the same voice that hides in the language of divine silence. But if we do not hear the one, we are unlikely to hear the other.”—page. 182

“Distractions in prayer, while often uncontrollable, can be a type of forgetfulness. It is possible to become unwittingly rude and aloof with God, as though someone were in the same room with us and yet overlooked, our eyes preferring a scene of play outside the window.”—page. 185

“It can be expected that a God who conceals his presence in prayer will have a penchant for drawing us to unseen, hidden actions outside prayer as a favorite way to please him.”—page 188

“Let those, then, who are singularly active, who think they can win the world with their preaching and exterior works, observe here that they would profit the Church and please God much more, not to mention the good example they would give, were they to spend at least half of this time with God in prayer...Without prayer they would do a great deal of hammering but accomplish little, and sometimes nothing, and even at times cause harm. God forbid that the salt should begin to lose its savor [Mt. 5:13]. However much they may appear to achieve externally, they will in substance be accomplishing nothing; it is beyond doubt that good works can be performed only by the power of God”.—Saint John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle 29.3

Source: Contemplative Provocations by the Rev. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press, 2013.

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