The Presence of God
This is a chapter in the booklet, Sharing Prayerful Moments with St. Jane de Chantal, published by the Visitation Sisters in the United States.
Both Jane and Francis had strong desires for a life of quiet contemplation and yet their positions of responsibility thrust them into the midst of intense activity. During her lifetime Jane founded or assisted in founding over eighty monasteries in France. She frequently had to leave the monastery to care for the temporal needs of her children. In addition, her reputation for sanctity led many to the convent parlor to seek spiritual direction from her, and she carried on a voluminous correspondence with the Visitation sisters as well as with many lay persons.
Jane’s advice to the sisters shows us how she managed to keep her soul in peace before the presence of God, despite the many interruptions of her business affairs: ” Since our Divine Savior dwells continually with us, as in his temple, let us faithfully abide with him and never leave him save to execute his commands and having done so, come back straightway to this holy and simple attention before him. I strongly recommend this practice to you because it is an admirable way of perfecting all our actions.”
1. How can we put this ideal of living in the present moment into practice?
2. How does the practice of performing our actions purely for the love of God make us attentive to his presence, even if we are not conscious of it?
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence singing for joy. (Psalm 100:2)
Be silent in the presence of the Lord.(Zephania 1:2)
Now to God our Savior who enables you to stand in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, authority before all time now and forever. (Jude 24)
St. Jane’s Words
To feel God’s presence so intimately and powerfully, so that you are no longer aware of yourself is to have that little drop of water, self, dissolved in the ocean of divinity.
We must keep our hearts open and wait for the heavenly dew to fall, because the graces of prayer are not like water welling up from the earth, but more like water coming down from the heavens.
Let us keep our hearts and spirits centered in God! We will experience the union with God which the Divine Savior begged from his Father. Before his passion, Jesus prayed that the apostles and all those who believed in him would be one with him. Just as the Father was in him and he in the Father, so all would be united lovingly together in him.