Seeking God in Our Daily Duties
Presence of God – O my soul, withdraw into yourself and, forgetting all things, persevere in seeking God with all the affection of your heart.
“Whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:17). We must seek God, not only during the hours prescribed for prayer, but in all the acts and occupations of life. Jesus said in this regard, “We ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1). There are employments and contacts with creatures required by the duties of our state in life; these are expressions of God’s will, and we should not think that we must avoid them in order to seek Him. If they are regulated exactly according to God’s will, these contacts with others can never, of themselves, be obstacles to the union of our soul with God. However, we must always keep ourselves within the limits of God’s will. In other words, in our contacts with creatures and in our various activities, we must have but one end in view, the fulfillment of our duties. When, on the contrary, the “affection” of our will fixes itself upon such things, seeking in them a little personal satisfaction, gratifying our curiosity or our natural desire for affection, trying to gain recognition for ourself or looking for esteem from others, then our will strays away from the path of God’s will; our heart becomes attached to creatures, and thus meets a real obstacle—the greatest—to its continual seeking for God. St. John of the Cross expressly requires that we “go forth from all things according to the affection and will” (Spiritual Canticle 1,6). He demands not only the detachment that is material withdrawal from the world, but much more, the detachment of the heart.
As the thirsty stag pants for the spring of living water, so does my heart long for You, O God. My soul thirsts for You; it desires, seeks and wants nothing but You alone.
“O compassionate and loving Lord of my soul! You also say: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that thirst and I will give you to drink.’ O Life, who giveth life to all, deny me not this precious water which You have promised to those who desire it. I desire it, Lord, and I ask for it and I come to You: hide not Yourself from me, Lord, for You know my need and how this water is true medicine for the soul You have wounded…. O living streams, issuing from the wounds of my God! How abundantly do you ever flow for our succor and how safely will one pass through the perils of this miserable life who can draw sustenance from this divine water!” (Teresa of Jesus Exclamations of the Soul to God 9).
Only You, O Lord, can satisfy my soul’s thirst for supreme truth, infinite charity, and eternal beauty. When my heart becomes fixed upon any created thing, seeking a little satisfaction in it; when it lets itself be taken up, even to a slight degree, by some earthly affection, and without discretion becomes immersed in the business and cares of life, very soon it has to withdraw from them, weary and exhausted, empty and oppressed. O Lord, create in me a pure, upright heart which seeks You always and in all things; set in order charity within me, so that my affections and desires may remain constantly directed toward You.
“Who can free himself from base and mean ways, if Thou, O my God, wilt not lift him up to Thee in pure love? How shall a man raise himself up to Thee, for he is born and bred in misery, if Thou wilt not lift him up with the hand that made him?… Thou wilt not take away from me, O my God, what Thou hast once given to me in Thy only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in whom Thou dost give me all I desire. I will therefore rejoice, Thou wilt not tarry if I wait for Thee. Wait in hope, then, O my soul, for from henceforth thou mayst love God in thy heart.
“The heavens are mine, the earth is mine, and the nations are mine; mine are the just, and the sinners are mine; mine are the angels, the Mother of God, and all things are mine: God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine, and all for me. What dost thou, then, ask for, what dost thou seek for, O my soul? All is thine, all is for thee, do not take less, nor rest with the crumbs which fall from the table of thy Father. Go forth and exult in thy glory, hide thyself in it, and rejoice, and thou shalt obtain all the desires of thy heart” (John of the Cross Spiritual Maxims I (Words of Light), Prayer of the Enamoured Soul).
Note from Dan: This post on seeking God in our daily duties is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on seeking God in our daily duties: Detalle del grabado de San Juan de la Cruz (Detail of Engraving of Saint John of the Cross [1542-1591]), Francisco Pacheco, circa 1599, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.