Monday, November 23, 2015

God pushed to the background


 Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Religious people are not above having their illusions; including the illusion of being religious.  Even while maintaining the semblance of virtue and perhaps working very hard to do so, one can all the while keep God at arms length.  Religious sensibilities can be very strong as well as religious feelings, but they may have nothing to do with God.  They satisfy a personal need for security or comfort, but involve no true surrender to God or closeness to Him.  God is kept in the background; never at the forefront of one's life where He can disturb one's commitments and pursuits.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  We crave normality; to be in sync with the world around us.  If God were to get too big we would no longer be "in control" and so we make compromises. We keep God just close enough to maintain the illusion of goodness - He is in the background yet only to illuminate and give a radiance to our own pursuits.  May God pull us away from our egocentric desires and fill our hearts with deep contrition and increasing faith. May He makes us know our need for His Eucharistic mercy.

In the attitude of the tax collector I admit that You are still too little in my life.  Everything around me attracts me, absorbs me, involving me in the sphere of its actions as if beyond this world nothing else existed at all.  By this attitude, I am far away from You.  The horizon of what I see is hidden by the river of sensations I am looking for, to which I am surrendering myself, in which I am losing myself. These sensations and feelings have nothing to do with redemption.  Likewise they have nothing to do with the Eucharist that makes that redemption present.

Isn't there a kind of a drama going on in my life so that You are actually pushed to the background of my thoughts and actions?  You are only in the background, not in the forefront.  I push You far away. I may be doing something for You, but in fact I am not very interested in You.  You are always second, third, or even tenth in my scale of importance.  After all, I have so many friends, members of my family, so many urgent matters.  If I work it out, will I say You are seventeenth?  So this makes You very much in the background.

Because of this scenario, I need You so much.  You have come to me today and keep coming all the time.  You are really present in the Eucharist.  Chasing after an elevated place, courting the avarice of possessing, searching for pleasure and bodily comfort - all these things will destroy me.

I can still see that You are only in the background.  Even worse, I prefer not to remove You from this background.  I need it like that.  I would even feel bad without it.  I keep You just in the background of my life, small enough not to disturb me in my commitments and pursuits.

How obstinate I am.  Yet it is hidden in me.  It is somewhere deep in my subconsciousness.  It is unmistakably there.  I am ashamed to spell it out, but the fact is I feel good keeping You small like that.  You fit just nicely in my scheme of things.  You keep just where You are.  I like to be "normal" and if You were to get big and great in my life, there would be an upheaval.  I would not be able to cope.  I can't allow that.  That just won't do at all.  I would not have my peace of mind, the comfort that's granted to me by the compromises I've made.

Despite all this, grace still breaks through to me.  More and more I can see that I need You.  I need You so much.  You are my redeeming God.  You have come to sinners like me.  That is why You come in the Eucharist to save me from my obstinacy against which I am so helpless.

If you are in the background, I am big and important in the whole scenario.  I am sitting on a really big throne.  I am actually on a throne with God in the background.  The radiance is coming from that background giving a new dimension to everything.  Human relationships are almost radiant.  Even my thoughts if they have You for their background, take on a brilliantly new significance.

Yet You can see that in reality it is You I desperately need - really desperately.  By treating You subconsciously as the background I am actually destroying myself, my family, my friends, the world. This truth I discover in the act of contrition is so transfixing that I am now racing to You with even greater passion.  With the attitude of the tax collector I am crying out, "God present in the Eucharist, save me!"

How perverse this all is - the apostolic work for You may be very reassuring; I may get a lot of satisfaction from this work.  After all, I convert people.  I speak about You so much.  I am like a sort of hero the way I work.  Yet this is only because of You.  If You disappeared from the background, then my whole missionary activity would make no sense.  So You have to be in the background as this is what makes my apostolate, my whole life sensible.  It gives me this unusual peace that I convince myself I am living for extraordinary things.  I do it - with You in the background!

Even the important matter of winning souls for You is contaminated.  Yet the fact that You show me this contamination should be a great light and grace for me.  Because then my crying out for You, God in the Eucharist, becomes stronger and stronger, and my need to cling to You gets stronger too.  The nearness of Your merciful love will, I believe, save me. Moreover, I see that the problem of the background is beginning to show itself differently.  What I used to see as background was all confusion, immersed in my ego.  I now clearly see that no one can help me.  I only have You.  The more dangerously confused I am, the more Your eucharistic mercy spills into me because You are love itself.

I need You, my God, I need you so very much in Your eucharistic mercy.  You want to forgive me all this.  You want to save me.  You want to sanctify me.  Despite my confused obstinacy, despite my immersion in egocentric desires, You are in love with me.  You are overlooking my selfishness.  The more You can grant me Your forgiveness, the greater Your glory.

In Your love, You only need my contrition and increasing faith.

God, working in the Eucharist by the power of the Holy Spirit, immerse my poor soul in the waters of contrition.  Show me it is really not worth focusing on myself, because I was Your special choice even before You made me.

You have made the whole world for me.  When You are speaking to me from the altar, I shall know better and better to open myself to Your love that wants to revive and transform me.  Transform me to the point where the world is in the background so that You become the center of my life.  According to the faith I receive in and through our Church, I want the Eucharist to be the source and the sense of my spiritual life.  I want You to lead me by my faith.  I want to be led to sanctity.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith