Presence of God – O Lord, make me generous and faithful in Your service; grant that I may never put an obstacle to Your action in me.
The fount of living water, from which springs the loving experience of God and contemplative light, is really the operation of the Holy Spirit acting in the soul by the actuation of His gifts. Since at Baptism we have all received the gifts of the Holy Spirit—those supernatural dispositions that make us capable of receiving the divine activity—it is clear that God has given them to us, not that they may remain inoperative, but that they may be put into action. Hence their actuation cannot be considered extraordinary, but connatural; and this to such a point that the loving experience of God and the contemplative light which comes from it cannot be considered extraneous to the full development of grace. In other words, if a soul opens itself generously to the action of grace, if it seconds this action with all good will, it can well think that the Lord will not refuse to give it at least a few drops of living water, that is, some form of contemplative knowledge. St. Teresa strongly affirms this and says, “We must not be afraid that we shall die of thirst. On this road, the water of consolation never fails” (Way of Perfection 20); but we must understand that the “road” of which the Saint speaks is the road of total giving, of unlimited generosity which never says, “This is too much,” of generosity which gives itself without counting the cost, and perseveres in spite of the hardships on the road, the interior aridity, and the exterior difficulties.
If it be right that a soul who feels itself called to divine intimacy appreciate and long for contemplation, it cannot be wrong for it to try to prepare itself for it. Many souls are refused this grace by God simply because He does not find them suitably disposed. It is, therefore, necessary for us to work, so that we shall not be deprived of contemplation through our own fault. On the other hand, if we have done all that depends on us as best we can, we should not fear that our work will be wasted; sooner or later, in one way or another, the Lord will always give us to drink.
“My God, if You desire to enter my soul to find Your delight in it and to shower it with blessings, there is only one thing necessary: the soul must be simple, pure, and desirous of receiving You. But if, instead of clearing the way, we place many obstacles in it, how can You enter? How do we expect You to give us Your graces?
“It is really astonishing! We are still full of faults and imperfections, virtue has scarcely taken root in us—and please God that it has begun!—we are barely able to walk; yet we are not ashamed to complain about aridity and to look for consolation in prayer!
“But Lord, You know better than I what is good for me; I do not have to advise You what to give me, because You could justly tell me that I do not know what I am asking. I want to give myself to prayer and to prepare myself to receive Your gifts; my one ambition must be to work, with all the diligence possible, to strengthen this resolution and to be ready to conform my will to Yours. O my God, You have taught me that the highest perfection to be attained in the spiritual way consists in this. The more perfect this conformity is, the more You will overwhelm me with favors and the more progress I shall make” (Teresa of Jesus The Book of Her Life 8 – Interior Castle [also known as The Mansions] II, 1). Grant, then, O Lord, that I may make generous resolutions, and give myself unreservedly to You, without any division. You are waiting for this, so that You may come and finish Your work.
“I am Yours, O my God! Do what You wish with me and lead me by whatever path suits You. If, with Your help, I am really humble and detached from everything, You will not fail to grant me the gift of prayer, and many others in addition, which will far exceed my desires” (cf. Teresa of Jesus Interior Castle IV, 2).
Note from Dan: This post on our preparation 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 our preparation: Holy Spirit Detail of Chair of Saint Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, Sergey Smirnov, own work 03.05.2008, CC-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.