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.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Immersion in God

Reflections on
the Life of
Madame Jeanne de la Mothe Guyon.

When at a certain time the pious Franciscan, who had been under God the instrument of her conversion, and who now, in accordance with the practice of the church to which she belonged, acted as her spiritual Director, questioned her in relation to her feelings towards God, she answered:

I love God far more than the most affectionate lover among men loves the object of his earthly attachment. I make this statement as an illustration, because it is not easy to convey my meaning in any other way. But this comparison, if it furnishes an approximation to the truth, fails to discover the truth itself. It is merely an illustration, which may enable one imperfectly to conceive the strength of that love which exists in me, but is not, and cannot be, a true measurement of it.

She adds:

This love of God occupied my heart so constantly and strongly, that it was very difficult for me to think of anything else. Nothing else seemed worthy of my attention. So much was my soul absorbed in God, that my eyes and ears seemed to close of themselves to outward objects, and to leave the soul under the exclusive influence of the inward attraction. My lips also were closed. Not unfrequently vocal prayer, that form of it which deals in particulars, ceased to utter itself, because my mind could not so far detach itself from this one great object as to consider anything else. When the good Father, the Franciscan, preached at the Magdalen Church at which I attended, notwithstanding the importance and interest which attached to his religious addresses, I found it difficult for me, and almost impossible, to retain any definite idea of what he said. He preached there on three successive occasions about this time; and the result was always the same. I found that Thy truth, O my God, springing from the original source, as if Thy divine and eternal voice were speaking truly, yet inaudibly in the soul, made its impression on my heart and there had its effect, without the mediation of words.

This immersion in God absorbed all things, that is to say, seemed to place all things in a new position relatively to God. Formerly I had contemplated things as dissociated from God; but now I beheld all things in the Divine Union. [I could no more separate holy creatures from God, regarded as the source of their holiness, than I could consider the sun's rays' as existing distinct from the sun itself, and living and shining by virtue of their own power of life. ] This was true of the greatest saints. I could not see the saints, Peter, and Paul, and the Virgin Mary; and others, as separate from God, but as being all that they are, from Him and in Him, in oneness. I could not behold them out of God; but I beheld them all in Him.

— edited from The Life of Madam Guyon, Volume 1, Chapter 7.

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