On the Immensity and Omnipresence of God.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Immensity and Omnipresence of God.
Think of the great, wide world with its many countries, its countless towns and villages, its hills, heights, and mountains, its springs, rivers, and oceans; think of the boundless vault of heaven with its millions upon millions of shining orbs, each of which is a fresh world, or the centre of a fresh system of worlds, and then rise yet higher, apprehend the sublime thought that there is something still more boundless, more immeasurable than all that the universe taken together contains, and that is the infinite, omnipresent God. Fix your attention to-day upon this subject.
1st. Consider the word which the Lord spoke by the mouth of the prophet Jeremias: “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (xxiii. 24.) Thus your Lord and God fills this vast immeasurable universe; He is everywhere; He rules everywhere; He is wholly everywhere, wholly in every part and in every being. “I sought the Lord,” says St. Augustine, “in the world without, I sought Him who was within me.” Yes, concentrate your mind on this elevating thought: that you yourself are filled with God, that He is present within you, around you, that He envelops you as the air you breathe. Rodriguez says: “Some represent to themselves the world as filled by God, as in deed it is, and themselves in the midst of the infinite ocean of the divine immensity as a sponge in the ocean.” This is an apt simile, but observe, only a simile.
2d. Consider the saying of the Apostle: “In Him we live and move and are,” (Acts xvii. 28.) Thus in God we live and move as a bird in the air, as a fish in the water, its native element. The bird may fly whither he will, as high as he will, he cannot depart out of the air; the fish may swim here and there as he lists, but he will always remain in the water, and so it is with thee, O man; at no time, in no place canst thou escape out of the presence of the omnipresent Godhead. Hear what the Psalmist says: “If I ascend into heaven, O Lord, Thou art there; if I descend into hell, Thou art present. If I take my wings early in the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.” (Ps. cxxxviii. 8-10.) How foolish it is then of the sinner, how blindly foolish, to wait for the darkness to do his evil deeds in secret, under cover of the night! Alas for him! no darkness hides from God; He is all-seeing and omnipresent, you cannot conceal yourself from Him, you are never hidden from His sight. This truth is for us both a warning and a consolation.
3d. Consider how important it is and how profitable for us constantly to remember that God is present every where. This remembrance of itself holds us back from sin, gives solace in the season of affliction, courage in danger and strength in time of temptation. “Though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for Thou art with me.” (Ps. xxii. 4.) So speaks the Royal Prophet, filled with a sense of the omnipresence of God. For Priests and Religious this thought is especially important and profitable: “As there is not a single moment of time,” says St. Ambrose, “when we are not enjoying some benefit from the bountiful and merciful hand of God, so there ought to be no moment of time when we have not God in our thoughts.” And St. Bernard adds: “Let the monk continually bear in mind that God sees all his actions, all his thoughts, and let him consider that time to be lost in which he has been forgetful of the divine presence.” How has your conduct tallied with this admonition, my soul? Ask yourself this question seriously. Select one of the different methods whereby to preserve a continual remembrance of God’s presence proposed by spiritual writers; and the better to attain your end follow the example of St. Francis and the teaching of St. Basil, who tells us that everything ought to be to us an occasion inciting us to raise our heart to God. When we take our meals, let us give God thanks; when we put on our clothes, let us thank Him likewise; if we walk out into the country, let us praise Him who has made it so fair and so fruitful; if we look upward to the stars, let us glorify Him who created them. If all we see, all we make use of speaks to us of God, we shall have Him constantly in our thoughts, we shall walk continually in His presence.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
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