Thursday, October 17, 2013

For the Divine Outcast, a Home

I have set aside yesterday's reading in favor of a book that will be returning, tomorrow, to its owner.  Today I've tried to live, "several hours at at time," holy snippets of truth from Sheltering the Divine Outcast.  Again, the focus is on LIVING these words of wisdom as the day goes along. 

"Prayer!  The love of the soul for God!  The friendship of God with the soul!  Prayer is the greatest activity of the soul.  There is no occupation that can hinder this activity, unless the soul permits it.  It is a hidden power."  (p. 13)

I have had several things to do and schedule today.  I've managed some housework, done a bit of writing, dealt with a seasonal allergy attack.  In it all, I have reminded myself that no occupation can hinder prayer - unless I permit it.  I've asked myself, over and again:  am I giving my soul permission to abandon its "greatest activity?"  

Interestingly, giving up prayer is more of a temptation when I'm feeling sick and lazy than when I am outwardly busy.  Allergy attacks really throw me.  They can sometimes hit me like 'flu (that sounds dramatic, but it's not an exaggeration).  Do I expect myself to concentrate on prayer while my head pounds and my whole system feels drastically "unwell?"  No, of course not.  At least, not in the same way I might do otherwise.  But I can remind myself that no occupation - even that of lying back with a hammering skull - can keep me from having the intention of prayer.  I can "think" a mental aspiration no matter what my circumstances.   I can remember, even with a pounding head, that the thudding is outside the cloister of my heart. 

Prayer is a hidden power.  I think its power may be most hidden, at times, from the pray-er herself.    

Sheltering the Divine Outcast will go back to its owner tomorrow.  We have had a fruitful visit, this little book and I.  Like a squirrel storing up food for the winter, I expect to spend the rest of this evening just packing away more of its truth .... to be, one nugget at a time, LIVED.  

The book is leaving, but my sheltering is not over.  I pray to provide, for the Divine Outcast, a home. 

"The heart of a true servant of God is a Tabernacle where an unseen God constantly dwells." (p. 51)

"God reads our hearts and that is all He cares about.  He sees in a glance if there is room for Him there, and how much room we will give Him."  (p. 52)

"God chooses a 'Home' within us.  What about your house, your temple, your soul?  'Is it a den of thieves' or 'a house of prayer?'"  (p. 81)

"Do I retire from time to time, if only for a few seconds, into the inner sanctuary of my heart?  
What would Our Lord do now?
What answer would He give to this question?
How would He behave in my place?
What does He ask of me at this moment?
Such are the questions which will arise of their own accord in a soul eager for the interior life."  (p. 123)

(All quotes above are from Sheltering the Divine Outcast, compiled by A Religious, The Peter Reilly Co, Philadelphia, 1952)

Painting: František Dvořák, Thoughtful Reader

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