Hard as it is to convey in human language, there is a very real and very recognizable (but almost entirely undefinable) Presence of God, in which we confront Him in prayer knowing Him by Whom we are known, aware of Him Who is aware of us, loving Him by Whom we know ourselves to be loved…

It is not a vision face to face, but a certain presence of self to Self in which, with the reverent attention of our whole being, we know Him in Whom all things have their being. The “eye” which opens to His presence is in the very center of our humility, in the very heart of our freedom, in the very depths of our spiritual nature. Meditation is the opening of this eye. 49

The true and deepest desire of my life is to know this “Presence of God.” The most authentic longing of my heart is to enter into an awareness of God at the heart of all existence.

But, this Presence is hidden to my normal faculties.

Jesus said,

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

The “Father” is “in secret” to my physical senses.

Coming to an awareness of Presence requires a perceptual shift I do not always cultivate. I need to find “the ‘eye’ which opens to His presence.”

Merton says I will come to this awareness only in “humility” and “freedom”.

“Humility” is the willingness to acknowledge that I depend for this perception on a power greater than myself. If I am going to find this “‘eye’ which opens to His presence,” I must trust God to open my heart.

“Freedom” comes from my willingness to “shut the door” to the distractions, attachments and identifications that so preoccupy the surface of my life.

I experience what Merton affirms, that “Meditation is the opening of this eye” because in meditation I acknowledge my helplessness before God. When I practice meditation I set aside for a time all those obsessions and compulsions that so often cause me to lose my consciousness of the Divine Presence and a new consciousness opens within.

What keeps me from opening “this eye” that perceives the Divine?

What practices might make me more sensitive to God’s “secret” presence?

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