Father Nicolas Schwizer
There is a proposal by Father Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement, for growing in closeness and attachment to the Father. He calls it: to walk in the presence of God. It consists of three simple actions: “to look frequently at God with the eyes of faith; to converse often with God in childlike love; and to offer sacrifices to God frequently.”
And he adds: If you want to know why you do not reach deep attachment to God, you only have to ask yourself: Which of these three actions am I not practicing?
1. To look frequently at God with the eyes of faith. Now, how can I do it in spite of my activities? Let us recall the time of our courtship. It is evident, when two love each other, they remember each other and they communicate mutually. From that experience, I have to learn how to cultivate my love for God. What I did then spontaneously, I now have to learn by practice. I should train myself to look at God several times a day. Without that effort, I will never reach a more personal relationship with Him.
Concretely, I should take better advantage of my times for prayer, for spiritual reading and meditation so that they can truly be personal encounters with God.
2. To converse often with God in childlike love. How can I converse often with the Father? For many of us, it is still very hard to pray, to enter into a profound and personal dialogue with Him. Nevertheless, prayer is absolutely necessary because it is the breathing of the soul; without it, we cannot survive. Each moment of prayer should increase in us the love for God, the loving surrender to the Father God.
I have to learn to dialogue with God the Father about the daily things in my life. Father Kentenich’s opinion is that we would be more interiorly serene and more healthy psychically if we would take our daily problems to God…..if we would talk about them to God…..if we would reflect on the daily encounters with God.
I believe that in all of this we should seek a closer, more spontaneous, more simple and childlike contact with God the Father.
The ideal to which we should aspire is to not only pray frequently, but to pray always. St. Paul also says it: “Pray without ceasing” ( 1 TH 5, 17). What is understood by this? It is the disposition of the heart to never refuse God anything: a permanent openness to his wishes, an attitude of always responding “yes,” an interior disposition for adoring the Will of the Father in every circumstance.
It is the mysterious experience that I am never alone because God is always with me and in me. That permanent contact with the Father supposes that my soul is captivated by God even subconsciously. That is only possible if the Holy Spirit gives us his gifts.
3. To offer sacrifices frequently to the Father. If I want to learn to live in the presence of God, then it is evident that I should also offer Him sacrifices. With my so fragile and limited human nature, I cannot pretend to achieve an attachment filled with love, without a spirit of heroic mortification. Under the order of sin and the cross, love without sacrifice does not exist.
And what could I offer Him? Things of daily life, for example, the sacrifices which assure the education of my temperament or my character; the sacrifice which means to many of us our exemplary professional work; our struggle to carry on with dignity our marriage and family…..
Questions for reflection
1. Do I have moments of encounter with God?
2. Do I tell Him of my joys and sorrows?
3. Is it hard for me to make sacrifices and offer them to God?