The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Solitary Communion with God as a Means to Regulalting the Social Instinct

The social principle, like others, may become inordinate in its action. In the natural life, in distinction from the regenerated or sanctified life, every thing runs to excess, in consequence of the prevalence of selfishness and the absence of the love of God. And thus the social principle, implanted originally for a good end, may become, as in point of fact it often does become, more or less excessive and vicious in its operation. In what way then, shall the discharge of the duty of social intercourse be regulated, so that the divine blessing may rest upon it? In reply to this question it may be admitted, that it is neither easy nor safe to lay down specific rules applicable in all cases. It is obvious that what would be right and proper under some circumstances, would be inexcusable under others. It is perhaps best, therefore, that the conduct of each individual should be left to be regulated by the decisions of a sound and consecrated discretion, made in view of the circumstances of each occasion as it arises.

In all ordinary cases, however, it may be safely said, that some portion of each day, and especially a portion at the commencement of the day, should be devoted to solitary communion with God. The soul needs the resources and refreshment of such seasons of sacred retirement, in order to put itself into a situation to meet those trials of its faith and patience, which are incidental even to social intercourse.— Nor is this all. We should also have seasons of special religious recollection, while we are acting in and with society, in which we may turn our thoughts inward and upward; to the state of our own hearts on the one hand, and to God as the true source of wisdom and support on the other. Many pious persons have found this practice very important to them. It is said of Fénelon, in connection with the numerous claims of society upon him, claims which he promptly met with admirable condescension and wisdom, that he nourished the inward divine life, even in the midst of such multiplied interruptions, by praying "in the deep retirement of internal solitude."

— from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 6.

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