Sunday, November 29, 2015

My heart is cluttered with thrones and pedestals


 Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Guard your hearts and allow them to adore only One - the Beloved.  Let Him be the Love He desires to be for you and not simply what your desires, your loneliness or your wounds seek to make Him.  As much as you seek Him, there will be parts of yourselves that hold on to false images or lesser images of Him.  These will not always be obvious or even necessarily evil.  In fact, it is often the best of things in this world that we cling to the most or that we are tempted to exchange for the true freedom and intimacy He offers.  It is the silence of faith that will reveal these things to you.  It is in the silence of the chapel - adoring His eucharistic face - that you will be lifted up and your love renewed. 

I may not realize that wherever I kneel in church, I always bring my own "altar" to the altar.  This altar doesn't occupy space, but it is pretty full.  It varies from person to person.  It involves what in reality I am consciously or unconsciously worshipping in my life.  That altar is really what I place on the altar to adore.

I often speak of what I adore.  "To adore" in any language does not imply trying to throw God from His throne.  I use it out of habit.  In a natural way, although almost unconsciously, I am relegating God, whom I should really adore, into the background.

The situation is odd because I can see the altar from my pew in church - but what do I actually see?  Not the true altar but this one in my mind.  I have brought it with me.  It obscures the altar of the most holy sacrifice.  I don't realize that I simply don't see it.

So the silence I try to have as I kneel before the tabernacle cannot be real.  God wants to grant me real liberation - not in the sense of choice between good and evil but in freedom from desires, from fears and obsessions.  He wants to grant me true interior silence that is both freedom from hindrances and peace coming from union with Him.  This one who grants me peace, frequently calms my sense of loss and loneliness.

The silence of faith leads to grace.  This consists in quietening the passions and desires.  It is about the silence of the will so that I have fewer and fewer yearnings.  The less I pursue desires, the more I find peace.  God magnetizes the emotional forces into tranquil pathways free from clingy attachments.  Instead my love is magnificently renewed.

In Holy Communion I unite myself with Jesus - or so it seems to me.  But do I really unite myself with Him?  He comes into my heart yet He finds it cluttered.  I may find this hard to imagine.  How many temporarily unused thrones are cluttering my mind that I do not want to throw away, thinking they will come in handy later.  My psyche is cluttered with thrones and pedestals.  This lumber is the reception room for the eucharistic Lord.  How must God react?  "It should be known," writes St. John of the Cross, "that God dwells secretly in all souls . . .  . Yet there is a difference, a great difference, in His dwelling in them.  In some He dwells alone, in others He is not alone.  Abiding in some He is pleased; in others He is displeased.  He lives in some as though in His own house, commanding and ruling everything; in others He is like a stranger in a strange house, where they do not permit Him to give orders or do anything."

I am uneasy as I reluctantly think about this.  Perhaps I owe an apology to Him because He had to come to such a cluttered place.  Besides, the Church encourages me in this moment to be like the humble centurion or the repentant prodigal son.  So I can ask before the Holy Communion: Lord, only say the word, so that I am healed, sanctified, and freed from the lumber of noisy yearnings and deafening desires silencing the voice of Your love.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith