Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Abiding Presence Of The Holy Ghost in the Soul, by Bede Jarrett, O.P. part 9. This Presence has certain effects.

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1. It is very clear that so tremendous a presence as this indwelling implies must have tremendous results. If, as I believe, Father, and Son, and Spirit, are always within me by grace, the effect upon my soul should be considerable. To begin with, the very nearness to God which this indwelling secures must make a great difference to my outlook on life. To have within me the Ever Blessed Trinity is more than an honour, it is a responsibility; it is more than responsibility, for it is the greatest grace of all. To my faith, it makes the whole difference in my attitude to the Mother of God that within her womb for those silent months lay the Incarnate Wisdom. If to touch pitch is to ensure defilement, to be so close to God is to catch the infection of His Divinity. Or, again, I may have envied, times out of number, the wonderful grace whereby, upon the breast of his Master, St. John, the Beloved Disciple, could lovingly lay his head, the joy of so close and so familiar an intimacy with the most beautiful sons of men; or I may have pictured the charming scene when on His knees He took the dear children of His country and spoke to them and fondled them so that in His eyes they could see reflected their own countenances. How life ever after must have been transfigured for them by the memory of that glorious time! Great graces indeed for them all. But what if all life long, by grace, I too can be sure of a union even more splendid, an intimacy more lasting, a friendship surpassing the limits of faith and hope?

2. By grace, then, I receive this indwelling of the Spirit of God, and thereby come into a new and wonderful union with the Ever Blessed Trinity. Now such a union must have its purpose. Our Lord told us that He was going to send to our hearts the Holy Spirit, an embassy from Heaven to earth conducted by a Divine ambassador. The news of the Incarnation, the offer of the Motherhood of God, were made by means of an angel. But here, in my case, to no created official is this wonderful thing confided, only to God Himself. That just shows me the importance of the undertaking. In the political world the interests that turn on a diplomatic mission may be easily guessed to be very great, when the personnel of the staff is found to contain the highest personages in the country. What deep and abiding interests must then be in question when to my soul comes God, the Holy Ghost, sent as the messenger of the Three! I must consequently expect that the results of this indwelling are judged by God to be considerable, and that it is of much moment to me that, one by one, I should discover them. The Incarnation brought its train of attendant effects which I have to study: the redemption, the sacraments, the sanctifying of all immaterial creation by its union through man with the divinity. This indwelling also must therefore have its effects, the knowledge of which must necessarily make a difference to me in life.

3. By Baptism the beginning comes of this great grace. As a child, with my senses hardly at all awake to external life, I had God in my midst. Do I wonder now at the charm of early innocence, when a soul sits silently holding God as its centre? It is not that there are dim memories of a pre-existence before birth, but there are always haunting dreams of a true friendship on earth. Baptism then begins that early work. At the moment of conversion, when suddenly I was drawn into a tender realization of God’s demands and my own heart’s hunger, the indwelling of the Spirit became more consciously operative with its flood of light and love. Since then the sacraments have poured out on me fuller measures of God’s grace and that divine Presence therefore should assume larger proportions in my life. I am now the dwelling place of God. When, then, my heart is young, eager, enthusiastic, let me make Him welcome; nor wait till the only habitation I can offer is in ruins, leaking through an ill-patched roof. A dwelling place for God! How reverently, then, shall I treat and treasure my body and soul, for they must be as fit as I can make them for the great Guest. By reason we learn of Him, by faith we know Him, but by His indwelling we taste the sweetness of His presence.