Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Divine Intimacy - The Spirit of Faith

Taken from the book Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen


1. There are two chief obstacles which hinder us from keeping in contact with God while we are at our daily tasks. First, there is the almost wholly worldly, material point of view with which we usually consider persons and events; second, there is the opacity of creatures, and the painful, disconcerting, and sometimes evil aspect of many occurrences. As long as we are at Our Lord's feet in prayer, it is easy for us to believe that we can see Him in every creature, in every situation; but when we are face to face with certain persons, or difficulties, this idea vanishes and we founder in human reasonings which make us lose sight of God and His activities in the world. The remedy for this is to cultivate a deep spirit of faith.

Faith is not limited to knowing God in Himself as the Trinity; it makes us see Him also in all creatures, in all circumstances of our life, since He is always present everywhere by His providential action. God knows creatures as they exist in relation to Himself; and faith, showing creatures to us as dependent upon God, makes us, in this way, see and judge them somewhat as God Himself sees and judges them. Faith teaches us that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in the world which is not subject to divine control. It is true that God cannot will evil; and therefore He does not will sin or its consequences, such as injustice, litigation, war; but He does permit them, simply to safeguard the liberty of His creatures. However, He sometimes intervenes in situations, even in those caused by sin, so as to make everything enter into His divine plan, which is ordained for His own glory and for the salvation and sanctification of souls. My spirit of faith must be so real that it will convince me that no circumstance, either in my private life or in my relations with others, escapes God's jurisdiction, which is so wise that it can draw good even out of evil. Consequently, I can see nothing apart from God; I can find Him in any person, in any situation.

2. A soul of faith meets God not only in prayer, but seeing Him in all things, in all things it finds Him; therefore, it can keep itself in contact with Him, even in the midst of occupations. The spirit of faith makes it penetrate the opaqueness of creatures and occurrences so that it always finds God. Secondary causes become transparent to it, enabling it to discover at once the First Cause, God, who is present and operating everywhere. To be able to recognize and meet God in every creature, even in the ones that hurt us, offend us, or make us suffer, and in every happening, even the most disagreeable, painful, and disturbing ones -- this is a great secret of the interior life. Then the world becomes an open book, on every page of which is written in large letters the one word: God. Before God, His will, His permission, His plans, everything else becomes secondary; we see how stupid it is to fix our gaze on creatures, which are, as it were, only a veil which hides the Creator. We need, however, assiduous practice before we can reach such deep faith.

In my contacts with my neighbour -- and how many people I do meet in the course of a day! -- I can form the habit of greeting Our Lord, present in every creature. In the duties of my state in life and in the orders of my superiors, I can see the expression of God's will in all circumstances -- great, small, or even minute -- which cause me boredom, uneasiness, suffering, increase of labour, or change of plans. I must learn to see them as the many means which God is using to make me practise virtue -- patience, generosity, charity. My hours of prayer must serve to show me all the details of my life in this supernatural light, so that I may always be able to find Our Lord in them.


  1. That sure was humbling... I love that book - it really opens one's eyes to one's failings, doesn't it?

  2. Yes indeed. I think it's one of favorite books for spiritual reading.