Presence of God – I implore You, my God, to let nothing trouble my union with You.
The yes of perfect consent has surrendered the whole human will to God, placing it completely under the vivifying influence of the divine will. Yet there are still found in the sensitive part of the soul disturbances which tend to withdraw it from the governance of God’s will: this sensitive part is subjected to the spirit only with difficulty, in consequence of the disorder produced by original sin. Even while the soul is by its will entirely conformed and united to the divine will, the sensitive part is always pulling in its own direction, carrying the affections along with it, sometimes stirring up repugnances and difficulties which can render continual adherence to God’s will painful and trouble the peace of the soul. Sensitiveness can still subject the soul to impressions and emotions which are a little too lively and expose it, when it does not succeed in wholly dominating them, to commit faults through inadvertence or frailty. Nor is the devil excluded from making use of the movements of the sensitive part to assail the soul, to hinder its progress, or, quite simply, to make it turn back, which, unfortunately, is always possible as long as we are in this life. The soul suffers from these trials, and ardently sighs to be freed from them, for it sees how they can disturb its union with God, and it desires this union to be more intense and perfect than ever. Only God can re-establish in man the harmony destroyed by original sin, and He does not refuse this sublime grace to a soul which is truly faithful to Him. He grants it by means of a more intimate and complete union with Himself, wholly dominating the soul by His powerful influence, as if taking it into His possession. This is total union, called by the mystics “spiritual marriage,” the highest degree of union with God possible in this life.
Oh! with what fervor the loving soul longs for this sublime state in which it can give itself entirely to God, and can be wholly possessed and directed by Him, without being troubled by the turbulence of sensibility.
“Great is this favor, my Spouse, and this delectable feast, this precious wine that You give me, one drop of which makes me forget all created things, and withdraw from creatures and from myself, and no longer desire the satisfactions and joys which until now my senses have longed for. Great is all this and unmerited by me.
“Let worldlings come with all their possessions, their riches, their delights, their honors, and their feasts: even if all these could be enjoyed without the trials that they bring in their train, which is impossible, they could not in a thousand years cause the happiness enjoyed in a single moment by a soul whom You have elevated to this state.
“No, I do not see how it is possible to compare the base things of the world with these delights so sweet that no one could merit them, with this union so complete with You, my God, with this love so ineffably shown and so blissfully experienced” (Teresa of Jesus Conceptions of the Love of God 4).
“O Lord my God, who is there that seeks Thee in pure and true love who does not find Thee to be the joy of his will? It is Thou who art the first to show Thyself, going forth to meet those who desire Thee.
“O my God, how sweet to me Thy presence, who art the sovereign Good. I will draw near to Thee in silence … I will rejoice in nothing till I am in Thine arms. O Lord, I beseech Thee, leave me not for a moment because I know not the value of my soul” (John of the Cross Spiritual Maxims I).
Note from Dan: This post on perfect union is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on perfect union: The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Catherine of Siena, Ambrogio Bergognone, circa 1490, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.