Monday, October 01, 2007
The Blessings of the Presence of God
Psalm 147:8 reminds us, "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills." God is a God who provides His creation with blessings! Brother Lawrence highlights 4 of God's blessings in his book "The Practice of the Presence of God," p. 71-72.
"The first blessing that the soul receives from the practice of the presence of God is that its faith is livelier and more active everywhere in our lives. This is particularly true in difficult times...The soul--accustomed by this exercise to the practice of faith--can actually see and feel God by simply entering His presence..." It is difficult for us to be active in our faith if we are not regularly seeking God. And in those times where trials enter our lives, the tendency is to panic. But when we can enter into God's presence, we will be able to allow the power of God to surround us and guide us. But even more, there is a profound sense of God's presence.
Second, "the practice of the presence of God strengthens us in hope. Our hope increases as our faith penetrates God's secrets through practice of our holy exercise." God has chosen to reveal the secret of His mysteries to those who seek Him. As we gain understanding of the mysteries of God, we have great hope, because we can have a sense of what God is doing and will do.
Third, "this practice (of seeking God's presence) causes the will to rejoice at being set apart from the world, setting it aglow with the fire of holy love. This is because the soul is always with God..." How wonderful it is to know the love of God. But if we are living in the ways of the world and the thinking of the world, then we will not experience God's love, because we will be confused by the love of the world. God's love is unconditional; the world's love is conditional. They cannot exist side by side. We must choose which we will live in.
Fourth, "by practicing God's presence and continuously looking at Him, the soul familiarizes itself with Him to the extent that it passes almost its whole life in continual acts of love, praise, confidence, thanksgiving, offering, petition...." To familiarize ourselves with something means that we know it well. If we know God's presence well, we will easily be led to love like God, be confident in God, give praise and thanksgiving to go, and seek God for guidance and direction.
Let me know what you think; firstname.lastname@example.org