Monday, June 20, 2011

Putting Yourself in the Presence of God

I've noticed since the kids are out of school that my routine of a daily meditation time with The Better Part has disappeared.  Instead of daily, I think I am only managing 1-2 a week and they are not at the same time each day.

Daily meditation was a big step forward for me when I began it the week of Ash Wednesday this year as it really helped to begin the day grounded in the realization of the reality of God's love, God's presence within me, and taking into the day the teachings of the Holy Spirit for me for that day, and the strength that comes from this.

Paraphrasing from The New Advent Encyclopedia :

Recollection is attention to the presence of God in the soul. It includes the withdrawal of the mind from external and earthly affairs in order to attend to God.

Recollection is of two types, Active, that is brought about by our own concentration and is helped by developing prayerful habits, and Passive, that does not depend on our efforts, but is extraordinary grace when God manifests his presence.  

I have been blessed to have enjoyed Passive Recollection, and at different times in my life the frequency of this experience is greater.  

Way of Perfection, Chapter 28, St. Teresa of Avila wrote, "However quietly we speak, He is so near that He will hear us:  we need no wings to go in search of Him but only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us."

St. Francis de Sales’ has four steps for putting yourself in the presence of God - Active Recollection
He writes that we should not use these techniques all at once, but only one at a time and that briefly and simply.
  1. [Cultivate] a lively, attentive realization of God’s absolute presence, that is, that God is in all things and all places. There is no place or thing in this world where he in not truly present…Blind men do not see a prince who is present among them, and therefore do not show him the respect they do after being told of his presence. However, because they do not actually see him they easily forget his presence, and haven forgotten it, they still more easily lose the respect and reverence owed to him. Unfortunately, Philothea, we do not see God who is present with us. Although faith assures us of his presence, because we do not see him with our eyes we often forget about him and behave as if God were far distance from us…This is why before praying we must always arouse our souls to explicit thought and consideration of God’s presence…When you prepare to pray you must say with your whole heart and in your heart, “O my heart, my heart, God is truly here!”
  2. Remember that God is not only in the place where you are but also that he is present in a most particular manner in your heart and in the very center of your spirit. He enlivens and animates it by his divine presence, for he is there as the heart of your heart and the spirit of your spirit. Just as the soul is diffused throughout the entire body and is therefore present in every part of the body but resides in a special manner in the heart, so also God is present in all things but always resides in a special manner in our spirit. For this reason David calls him “the God of his heart,” and St. Paul says that “we live, and move, and are in God.” Therefore in consideration of this truth excite in your heart great reverence toward God who is so intimately present in us.
  3. Consider how our Savior in his humanity gazes down from heaven on all mankind and particularly on Christians, who are his children, and most especially on those who are at prayer, whose actions and conduct he observes. This is by no means a mere figment of the imagination but the very truth. Although we do not see him, it remains true that from on high he beholds us.
  4. The fourth method consists in the use of simple imagination when we represent to ourselves the Savior in his sacred humanity as if he were near us, just as we sometimes imagine a friend to be present and say, “I imagine that I see such a one who is doing this or that,” or “I seem to see him” or something similar. If the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is present, the Christ’s presence is real and not purely imaginary. The species and appearance of bread and like a tapestry behind which our Lord is really present and sees and observes us, although we do not see him in his own form.
What advice or experiences of Recollection, Awareness of the Presence of God would you like to share? Please leave a comment, inclusive of posts to your own blog.


  1. Colleen,
    Have you read the book "The Practice of the Presence of God" written by Brother Lawrence? It is all about what you have written about here in your post and it is one of my favorite books of all time.

    Great post!

    I was also wondering if you would be interested in contributing posts to a new blog a few of us started. If you are, can you e-mail me? (There's a link to contact me in my post from today.) No pressure, I simply wanted to let you know that you are welcome to join us :)

  2. Mary, I got the image added but am struggling with editing html to add the link to the Community of Catholic bloggers site. I'll try again later.

  3. Colleen,
    Thank you:)
    Would you be interested in joining in with us occasionally posting also? If you can't I understand. The invitation is open ended so whatever you decide is fine :) God bless!

  4. I love the section you included: In Way of Perfection, Chapter 28, St. Teresa of Avila! As you write it's often difficult to find the time, and we MUST try our hardest.

    I wanted to let you know about a Meme called “Pay It Forward” @ A Life-Size Catholic Blog. If you can find time to link up (today, or any Tuesday) with this new Meme it’s a great way to grow our blogging community and make new friends. Check it out at:

    Many blessings…

  5. Colleen,
    I sent you an e-mail from my home e-mail address - if you don't get it please let me know. I also wanted to mention that if you think you would be able to post often we can by- pass the guest posting completely. I'll leave it up to your discernment :)

  6. Very happy to get your email Mary. Also I have sitting in front of me, THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD by Brother Lawrence. As I wrote you in my reply note, I bypassed this book last time as I felt myself way behind reading the writings of canonized saints and blessed. My mistake I'll probably find. Thank you for the recommendation.

    Holly, I will make a point to Pay It forward next Tuesday! I did find time today, alone in my Parish Church in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle I completed the first meditation in 6 days and it was an awesome one. Feeling closer to God than I did when I woke up today