Presence of God – My God, may Your love inundate and penetrate my soul until I am completely transformed in You.
As the flame of a candle, united to the flame of an immense fire, becomes one with it, burning and shining with a single brightness, so that it is impossible to distinguish it from the great fire in which it is immersed, similarly the soul united to God by love loses itself in Him, remaining so enveloped and transformed in Him as to appear to be God Himself, and to be made “divine and become God by participation, insofar as may be in this life” (John of the Cross Spiritual Canticle 22:3). God is always God, essentially distinct from the soul. Love, however, has so united and, as it were, merged the creature with the Creator, that “there are two natures in one spirit and love” (John of the Cross Spiritual Canticle 22:3). By the perfection of charity and of grace the Holy Spirit dwells with singular plenitude in such a soul, and in this divine Spirit—the Spirit and bond of Love—the soul lives completely united to the Blessed Trinity. Here is realized in the most perfect manner the burning desire and ardent prayer of Jesus: “As Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us” (John 17:21).
United to God in this way, the soul remains transformed in Him by love, or rather, it is love which, uniting it completely to God, makes the soul so similar as to transform it wholly in Him. This transformation extends to all its powers: “The human understanding … becomes divine, through union with the divine,” and wholly enlightened with supernatural light; “the will is informed with divine love so that it is a will that is now no less than divine, nor does it love otherwise than divinely…. So, too, is it with the memory; and likewise the affections and desires are all changed and converted divinely, according to God” (John of the Cross Dark Night of the Soul II 13:11). Further, the soul remains divinized not only in its being and its faculties, but also in its actions, for “it is God Himself who moves the faculties and commands them divinely, according to His divine Spirit and will; and the result of this is that the operations of the soul are divine” (John of the Cross Ascent of Mount Carmel III 2:8). The plenitude of supernatural life communicated to the soul in the state of spiritual marriage realizes in it, in the highest degree, the prerogative of grace, which is precisely that of making man a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). We see here the marvelous continuity which exists between the development of grace in our soul and these elevated states which are its ultimate consequence and its refulgent crown. Why do we tarry amid the paltry things of earth, when God has created us for these divine grandeurs?
“O my soul, created for these grandeurs and called thereto! What are you doing? Wherein do you occupy yourself? Your desires are base and your possessions misery. O wretched blindness of your eyes, which obscures so great a light! And why are you deaf to so clear a voice, seeing not that for as long as you seek grandeurs and glories you remain miserable and mean, and have become ignorant and unworthy of so many blessings?” (cf. John of the Cross Spiritual Canticle 39:7).
“O Holy Spirit, You serve as intermediary between the soul and God, moving it with such ardent desires that it becomes enkindled by that sovereign Fire, who is so near it.
“O Lord, what mercies are these that You bestow upon the soul! May You be blessed and praised forever, You who are so good a Lover! O my God and my Creator! Is it possible that there is any soul who does not love You? Unhappy that I am since for so long a time I myself loved You not!
“O my Lord, how good You are! May You be blessed forever! Let all things praise You, my God; You have so loved us that we can truly say that You have communication with souls even in this exile. O infinite Bounty, how magnificent are Your works!
“One whose understanding is not occupied with things of earth is amazed at being unable to understand such truths. Do You, then, grant these sovereign favors to souls who have so greatly offended You? Truly, my own understanding is overwhelmed by this, and when I begin to think about it I can go no farther. Where, indeed, would I go that would not be turning back? As for giving You thanks for these favors, there is no way of doing it …” (Teresa of Jesus Conceptions of the Love of God 5; The Book of Her Life 18).
Note from Dan: This post on transforming love 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 transforming love: Two Candles in Love, Nevit Dilman, own work, 2006, CCA-SA, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.