Understanding the Cell of God In Our Soul: From Mud to Living Water

In a previous post on daily, intimate prayer, we discussed how we slowly but surely come to know the constant presence of the Trinity within us, and we especially appropriate this presence to our Greatest Friend and Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit.  However, this only happens completely IF we persevere in the Grace of mental prayer through constant begging for the Grace and rigorous learning about this daily, intimate prayer through practice, trial and error, until the right habits are formed through Grace.  One of the keys to this transformation is understanding the difference between meditation and contemplation, so God can guide us to where He ultimately wants to take us, and we can cooperate with Him.  To simplify the distinction, we can use this broad and general outline. In meditation, we are using our intellect, imagination, and will to ponder the Gospels or other excellent material on the life of Christ and His virtues, and we seek to draw Grace from this exercise of prayer to imitate Him in Love through resolutions.  In contemplation, we are being led by God to simply Love and experience Him as He sees fit for us and to return this Love. In both modes of intimate prayer, we must be certain by Faith of God’s presence within us, so God can use this Faith and Trust, to move us closer to Him in Love!  Our faithful guide, Fr, Jacques Philippe teaches us: “We know by Faith that God is present in His creation and we can contemplate Him there; He is present in the Eucharist (in a preeminent way) and we can adore Him there; He is present in His Word, and we can find God by meditating on Scripture.

“There is, however, another mode of God’s presence of the greatest importance for our life of prayer: God’s presence within our heart (as the seat of our soul)…Regardless of what we may or may not feel, we are certain through Faith that God dwells in the depths of our hearts (when we are in a state of Grace). ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?’ says St. Paul.  St. Teresa of Avila herself tells how this Truth once grasped, profoundly changed her prayer life: ‘it is clear to me that if I had understood, as I do today, that in this tiny place of my soul, such a great King is living, I would not have left Him alone so often, I would have gone to seek Him from time to time, and I would have taken steps to ensure that the palace was less dirty.  How admirable it is then to think that He, whose greatness would fill a thousand worlds and much more, shuts Himself into such a little thing!  In truth, since He is the Master, He is free, and since He loves us, He reduces Himself to the measure of our smallness.'”

“…Christians can legitimately enter into themselves because, beyond their inner wretchedness they find God…who dwells in us through the Grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘The deepest center of the soul is God’ says St. John of the Cross’.”

Fr. Jacques concludes this critical reminder for us: “When we don’t know how to pray, the simplest thing to do is to recollect ourselves, keep silence, and enter into our own heart, go down into ourselves, and by Faith, rejoin the presence of God who dwells within us, and stay peacefully with Him. Don’t leave Him alone, keep Him company.

…”Someone who perseveres in doing this will soon realize the reality of what Eastern Christians call the ‘place of the heart’ or the ‘inner cell’ as Catherine of Siena called it.  This is the center of our being, where God has taken up His abode and we can always be with Him.  Yet many men and women do not know about this inner space of communion with God because they have never gone there, never visited this garden to gather its fruits.  Happy are they who make the discovery of ‘the Kingdom of God is within you’.  It will change their lives.

…”This is a truth of immense importance for the whole of life…..St. Teresa of Avila said a person who perseveres in mental prayer is like someone going to get water from a well–he let’s down the bucket and at first all he draws up is mud; but if he has trust and perseveres, the day will come when he finds the purest water…If by persevering in mental prayer we discover that ‘place of heart’, little by little our thoughts, choices and actions, which all too often spring from superficial levels (our worries, annoyances, immediate reactions) will begin to have their source  in the deep center of the soul where we are united to God in love. Then everything will proceed from Love…”

We know by calling upon Mary as our true spiritual Mother, through the power of our intimate way of life with her through the Flame of Love Grace, that this transformation through daily, intimate prayer of meditation and contemplation will occur.  Begging for this Grace through her as the Mediatrix of all Grace, will allow us to much more quickly and securely imitate Jesus Christ, and be Jesus Christ to all whom we encounter, than ever before. As God in His infinite Love and Mercy simply yearns to find souls who wish to Love Him as He Loves us!  Fiat!  Let us pray together as the infants we are: “Lord, I can not do this, but I trust that You can and will.  For my part, I simply desire and persevere in knowing You are doing it each day and in each moment that I persist!  It is in the repenting and the trying each day in Love that You my dear Creator and Savior will do it! All things come to those who trust and who wait on the Lord in Love!  Could a mother deny her infant?

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6 Responses to Understanding the Cell of God In Our Soul: From Mud to Living Water

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Oh my. This is it. This is it in written print. If I could use words to describe what my sweet Jesus and His Immaculate Mama are doing to me…this is it. What joy to read this. I have tried to find anyone who can relate to this, to share in this joy, and I find no one who can understand. No one. This writing is a gift to me and to all those, I’m sure, who are being raised up to usher in the new Era. The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA!!!!!

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    • Thank you Lord for what you are doing in Mary Anne! Yes, God is indeed calling all to this relationship…and always has…but He is now making it more easy and secure than ever before due to His infinite Mercy. He is giving us His Love, which is in His own Mother’s Immaculate Heart! If we put ponder on that mystery, we can’t help but say with Peter…”depart from me Lord for I am a sinful person”. Our Lord responds, “My Grace and Mercy are sufficient for you!” So, we simply say Fiat and bask in the Joy of the Holy Spirit to be loved as we are! Let us go into the center of our souls and return this Love which He has given to us!

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  2. I love what you said about entering into that tiny interior cell, our heart of hearts. He always waits for us there. Tony, thank you for making these distinctions clearer—so many people have no idea that meditation and contemplation are not the same thing. I wrote a post last year: “WHY CONTEMPLATION IS WORDLESS AND IMAGELESS.” You can read the whole post here: https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/why-contemplation-is-wordless-and-imageless/
    ***
    Let me cite most of it here: “Words and images are fraught with difficulties because they are man-made conveniences providing us with crude communication.
    ***
    When we come to prayer, we experience the same problems. Words and images just aren’t adequate to carry meaning. Don’t you feel this way when you look at pictures of Jesus? No matter how beautiful, they are never good enough. Never satisfying. When I pray, I’d rather not even use the hopelessly inadequate pictures. If I pray enough, long enough, my words, no matter how devout, reverent, or loving, will fail me also. They will leave me in silence.
    ***
    Yet Jesus, being truly man, used words. The whole Bible is a collection of words, and now it is the translations that worry us. Which expressions or collections of words best describe for us what God is saying? How can we know? Even the best translation by the best scholars and poets of the language will be inadequate.
    ***
    we can catch a glimpse of the meaning, and where the word fails, the Holy Spirit enters between the words to instruct and move us. Notice that St. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit groans: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…” [Romans 8,26].
    ***
    Only one Word is adequate to express what God intends to say to us, the incarnate Word. Jesus is literally the Word of God in the flesh. St. John of the Cross speaks in the words of the Father to us, “Fix your eyes on Him alone, for in Him I have revealed all and in Him you will find more than you could ever ask for or desire….In my Word I have already said everything.”
    ***
    How do you know that you are entering contemplation? When your vocal prayers run dry and the words of your heart fail. [Your heart will not fail. Only the words of your heart.] When the longing persists. The ache. When your dogged will, ever enchanted with pursuit of the Beloved, persists. When you fall into silence and all that you have left are the groanings in your heart. When your look of love looks only into the cloud of unknowing. When you realize that what you know is so much less than what you do not know of God. When you realize that words and images are totally inadequate for communication.
    ***
    Because this is contemplation: God pours Himself into the heart, mind, and will where once words and images operated. The moments of contemplation may be fleeting, but they are immensely satisfying. Here is a darkness that brings peace, not distress, a sense of love beyond measure. You would be happy to sit forever in such pregnant darkness.”

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    • Kathy, God has touched you deeply and we give praise to Him for teaching through you! Thank you for posting this insight! God so desires that we are willing to be a tiny child with Him; a child who is willing to stay still long enough to experience His Love, so that we can return it simply through desire. Do we have Faith and Trust enough to believe He will empty us of our ego and draw us deeply within to begin to open the vistas of Divine Love even here on earth? Those who have experienced it seek nothing else except to share the Gift with others! Because that is Love!

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  3. cclody says:

    Beautiful and brilliant counsel! That crystal clear water you speak of drawing from the spicket of stillness, is that remarkable grace to see through Mary’s eyes. Prayer soon finds new doors leading outside of time. I sense the many rooms in prayer’s mansion are opened with the keys of humilty gazing through the eyes of the Blessed Virgin. I believe the last door may require two keys, forged as one, the oneness of shared between the Sacred and the Immaculate hearts, allowing us to glimpse through the wounds of forgiveness.
    Bless your work! Shine on!

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