Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Abiding Presence Of The Holy Ghost in the Soul, by Bede Jarrett, O.P. part 1. GOD’S PRESENCE


1. Scripture is very full of the idea of the nearness of God to His creation, the Old Testament is alive with that inspiration, for there is hardly a chapter or verse that does not insist upon that truth. Naturally the New Testament, teaching so tenderly the Fatherhood of God, is even more explicit and more beautiful in its references to this intimate relationship. To the Athenians, St. Paul can develop no other point than this, and he finds in moving accents an eloquent appeal voiced by the touching dedication of an altar to the Unknown God. Now this notion of God’s nearness to His world depends for its full appreciation on the central doctrine of creation. He has made the world, in consequence it is impressed with His personality; the more vigorous the artificer— the more vigorous that he is in character, will and personality, the more is his work stamped with his individuality; hence, the tremendous personality of God must be everywhere traceable in the things He has made.
2. When we say God is everywhere, we mean that He is in all things because He made all things. Not only does the whole world lie outstretched before His eye and is governed by His power, but He Himself lurks at the heart of everything. By Him things have come into existence, and so wholly is that existence of theirs His gift, that were He to withdraw His support they would sink back into nothingness. It is a perpetual remark about man’s works that they outlast him. Organizations we have toiled to establish outgrow our fostering care, perhaps grow tired of our interference and long to be free of our regulations. Wordsworth tells how a monk in Spain, pointing to the pictures on the walls of the monastery, which remained while the generations looking at them passed away, judged: “We are the shadows, they the substance.” But the relationship established by creation is of a far greater dependence, so that nothing God has made can exist without His support. Out of human acts it is only music that bears some resemblance to this, for when the voice is silent there is no longer any song.
3. God, then, is within all creation, because He is its cause. He is within every stone and leaf and child. Nothing, with life or without, evil or good, can fail to contain Him as the source of its energy, its power, its existence; He is “the soul’s soul.” Not only, therefore, must I train myself to see with reverence that everything contains Him, but I must especially realize His intimacy and relationship to myself. Religion, indeed, in practice is little else than my personal expression of that relationship. I have in my prayers, in my troubles, in my temptations, to turn to God, not without but within, not to some one above me or beneath supporting me, but right at the core of my being. I can trace up to its source every power of my soul, my intelligence, my will, my love, my anger, my fear, and I shall find Him there. Nothing but opens its doors to Him as innermost in its shrine. Wholly is God everywhere, not as some immense being that with its hugeness fills the world, but as something that is within every creature He has made.