The Interior Life and the Presence of God

 

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I came across by this great article by Arnold Van Vugt in the Sun Star of the Philippines reflecting on Pentecost and discussing the need for Christianity to regain its sense of mysticism and wonder, including great quotes by Teilhard de Chardin and Karl Rahner.  You can read the entire article here but set forth below is an extended summary:

“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J. (1881-1955), a French theologian and scientist is one person who demolished these myths about the world. . .  According to him, the whole of creation has evolved itself from the beginning. But in the beginning there was God, the Creator of the world. According to Chardin, the Spirit of God is at work in creation ever since creation came about, and this will go on until the end of time, which is the big Omega. Chardin said: ‘The day will come when, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered the fire.’ This is the fire that came down upon the Apostles at the feast of Pentecost. And this fire will go on until the end of time.

Some years ago another theologian, the German Karl Rahner, dared to affirm that the main and most urgent problem in the Church today is her ‘spiritual mediocrity.’ Rahner said: ‘The true problem of the Church is to keep throwing herself with a resignation and an even greater indifference along the paths of a spiritual mediocrity.’ The problem is the indifference of the Church and this problem has got worse in these last decades, according to Karl Rahner. The Church has done little to reform its institutions and laws; it just preserved its liturgy and kept watch over the orthodoxy.

We must be aware of the presence of God’s Spirit in the world as well as in the Church and we must see to it that the fire will keep on burning. To welcome God’s Spirit means allowing ourselves to speak alone with God, whom we almost always put far off and outside of ourselves.

We must learn to listen to God in the silence of our heart. The interior experience of God’s presence in us is something real and concrete. It transforms our faith. You wonder at how you could live without discovering this before. Now you know why it is possible to believe, even in a secularized culture.

Now you know an inner joy that is new and different. It seems to me very difficult to maintain faith in God for very long in the midst of agitation and emptiness of modern life, without knowing, albeit in a humble and simple way, some interior experience of the Mystery of God.

In the Church there is much talk about God, but when and where do we believers listen to the silent presence of God in the deepest depths of our heart? Where and when do we welcome the Spirit of the Resurrected One in our inner self? When do we live in communion with the Mystery of God from within?

It is sad to observe that not even in Christian communities do we know how to care for and promote the interior life. Many don’t know what is in the silence of their heart, they haven’t been taught to live faith from within.

Deprived of an inner experience, we hang on for dear life, forgetting about our soul; listening to words with our ears and pronouncing prayers with our lips, while our heart is nowhere to be found. Modern society has signaled for the ‘exterior’. We must go for the ‘interior’.

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About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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15 Responses to The Interior Life and the Presence of God

  1. csb1148 says:

    Thank you for this – timely for me as I am working with someone wanting to pursue the diaconal process but seems to have little or no understanding of the importance of developing an interior spiritual relationship with God. Rather the focus seems to be on the external functions of the office. Whether introvert or extravert, there are ways for every personality “type” to go deeper with connection to God which will enhance and expand the consciousness and action of living a Christian life. [leeosophy]

    • Thank you for your comments. You nailed it on the importance of developing a strong interior spiritual life, especially for someone going into the diaconate. I personally have a long ways to go but the journey is significantly transformative.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

  2. Relax says:

    I just read this portion, but yes, we must go for the interior, but sometimes (always?) we have to ask the Lord or His mother or the saints or our angel for an assist with that. There was a reason He said He had overcome the world. We haven’t. We have to ask for the inner verdant pasture.

    • Great comment! Some people may be able to do it themselves but I know I need significant help in my prayer life and I am not able to get past my ego, distorted views and other obstacles to Unity with the Divine without God’s grace. I find it interesting that the Gospels describe Jesus as spending a significant amount of time in solitude and prayer, especially prior to his major ministries that took a lot of energy. For example, prior to the start of his public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert praying. Prior to his crucifixion, Jesus spent time in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is a pattern of Jesus drawing strength in solitude and a greater union with the Father and the Jesus being active in his ministry.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

  3. “The interior experience of God’s presence in us is something real and concrete.”
    I hold on to this truth to take me through each day.

  4. Pingback: Our Appetite for God

  5. Michael says:

    I only made it through the summary, but “only” is probably not the right term because it said so much. I really enjoyed this reflection. Of all things, it is that inner contact with divinity I cannot do without. It brings meaning to all things, infuses the world with Life, encourages me to keep going and giving and opening, even in little ways, and it heals the wounds of failure and withdrawal. Without it, the world feels like one great and empty bureaucracy.

    Michael

  6. Ponder Anew says:

    Wonderful timing! I just got finished listening to Fr Barron’s talk on the new evangelization. He addressed the need to stop ‘dumbing down our faith’ by subscribing to ‘banner and balloon Catholicism’ et al, put on our thinking caps and start really holding on to a Christian anthropology such as St Augustine’s vision in the Confessions: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
    🙂

  7. Excellent post. Thank you.

  8. molma.indigo says:

    I so agree that we don’t (can’t?) spend time in silent contemplation, it so so hard for us it is as if we are afraid of the silence. Just having finished reading another of Teilhard’s great writings, I also love his emphasis placed on our need for doing, that having something for us to work on would also capture and compel a greater intensity with contemplation extending the action of human activity.

    Thank you for posting,
    Molma I

    • Beautiful words Molma. I am fine on the “action” side but have an underdeveloped contemplative side. I am finding that as I have gotten into a regular rhythm of prayer and meditation I am actually more creative, more productive and more at peace.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

      • molma.indigo says:

        That is so good! I am trying to incorporate all my actions as prayer as well and not compartmentalize my life as I work, I play, I pray etc…sounds like you have integrated into your
        daily activities more than I – so good! Your blog has been such a blessing and help to me! Thank you so much for doing it!
        God’s Blessings to you,
        M

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