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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Love Desires Union

Today is the Feast of St. Monica, and tomorrow, St. Augustine. Right now, for my Spiritual Theology class I am reading "Confessions", so hope to have an orginal post soon as I delve further into the text. For now, though, I thought perhaps it would be worthwhile to re-post this one from nearly a year ago. It contains a theme that has become woven into my life, the idea that we are pilgrims on earth...and indeed, we are only pilgrims.
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1. GREAT art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee,man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou "resistest the proud,"(2) -- yet man, this part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee. Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee?

~ Confessions of St. Augustine

Flashback to a previous post, my question, an eternal one, "Is this it? Is this all there is? Do we really call this 'life'?"

Yes, my heart is restless, Lord, untill it rests in Thee.

I was listening to Relevant Radio one day, and the Spiritual Director on the show discussed this sense of restlessness. I have no idea what question was asked, but just the same, the answer is pertinent to us all: Our hearts are restless. Even when we have found our place on this earth, even when we are doing what we are called to do, there is a syndrome that haunts us. It is called by various names: "Itchy Feet", "The Grass is Greener", "Is this all there is?", and "The Path not Taken". But there is a reason for our disquietude. There is a reason we are always seeking what's over the next hill, what is just beyond the horizon, what might be behind the next ocean wave. There is a reason we cannot rest, no matter how content we may be. There is a reason we cannot live out our days without a sense of watchfulness, a sense of wondering about that fabled path not taken; because we are in exile.

Exile. We say the words in the Hail Holy Queen at the end of the rosary; "We, poor, banished, Children of Eve..." , and in the words at Advent in the hymn, "O Come o Come Emmanual," we sing,

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here...


We are a people in exile. We are a people created entirely for God, and we have, though our own sin, our own responsibility, cast ourselves into exile.

Our condition is unnatural, so it is right that we be so restless. It is right that we recognize that even as we fulfill what we can here on earth, that we recognize we are called to an ever higher purpose.

It is not our intellect that calls out for the next thing or that questions our fulfillment in life; it is our soul. Our soul recognizes in great anguish the division between God and man, and seeks to be unified. For we have been created for love, we have been created out of the very love of the Father, and we have been redeemed, in our sinfulness and imperfection by Jesus Christ. And we have been called to cooperate with the grace of the redemption, to accept the grace, and to aspire towards holiness. Why? Out of love. Just as we were created and redeemed out of love, we are called to the same sacrificial love. And that's not all.

Love desires union, and as long as we exist in this earthly exile, we do not have union. We can come close to union, but as long as we have not passed through the gates of death, we cannot experience that union. As long as we are held down by our sinful natures, we cannot experience that blessed union with God. Yes, we are to live out our exile, we are to continue to seek our union with God, we are to walk in holiness and continue to seek that perfection of charity.

We just have to recognize that we are restless because we have nowhere to rest. We are not home; this is not our home. Our home is in Heaven, our home is the Divine Processions, the Beautific Vision, and we will never be able to rest until finally we are released and called into the place God is preparing for us.

So, in this unnatural state of separation from God, we must withstand the restlessness, accept it as part of our exile...and realize that this is what reminds us that as we journey through life, we are forever looking for rest within the heart of our Savior.

Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in Thee. Amen.

12 comments:

Fr. V said...

Wow -

Good couple of posts!

This job must be good for you! (And you for it)

Adoro te Devote said...

Thanks, Fr. V. This post actually came more from a totality of things (with huge influence by current study of Spiritual Theology for class), and a dose of God's perfect timing in listening to Relevant Radio. :-)

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Very timely post. I, too, have been feeling very restless lately. You nailed it here. Thank you.

uncle jim said...

what do you get when a revert finds a job in the church, and also finds answers in grad school?

answer?

you readers can give me your answer, then I'll give you mine. nahnahnahnahnahnah

Adoro te Devote said...

uncle jim ~ You get the award for the most consistently cryptic comments EVER. :-)

This post was not inspired in any way by my new job, and I haven't even been reading about St. Augustine, although I'll admit the stuff I have to do for class influences lots of things indirectly.

Hmm...that seems to contradict what I said before, but so be it.

This post came right out of Relevant Radio. I know the caller on the radio was talking about his family and seeking a PhD, but I didn't hear his original question. The quote I used here has long been a favorite, as it is for many people.

Uncle Jim...I've been writing posts like this for a long time...check my archives. :-)

Of course...if any of them are any good, they are from the Holy Spirit. The bad stuff...that's all me.

uncle jim said...

That specific quote from St Augustine is one of my favorites, too!

You're good ... you really are.


SO-O-O-O, my answer:

You get an excellent Catholic blogger! One to be read and listened to. One who is consistently on the mark!

Since grad school and the job are both VERY NEW, it is obvious to regular readers that they had little to do with the content of this post. BUT, I dare say, your consistent content probably has a lot to do with your having that new job and being in grad school.

I hope that is not too cryptic.
We are here regularly because you write something we want to read.
'Nuff said!

Adoro te Devote said...

Uncle Jim, you are a doll. :-)

But really, it's not me that's consistent...it's the Holy Spirit. He's always on top of things, and if I get something right, it's because the HS is actually whispering in my ear even when I don't realize it.

Case in point; yesteray I was in the Adoration chapel with one of the essay questions I have to answer, reading through Dives in Miseriacordia, IV & V for the answer, which I just wasn't finding. It came to me I should go home and read the gospel for today. (I don't have a Magnificat this month, so didn't have it on me). So I planned to go home and go to the USCCB site for the readings, completely forgot.

So this morning I went to Mass, and the readign was....the Prodigal Son. What Dives in Miseriacordia is ALL ABOUT! LOL!

That's the Holy Spirit for ya!

Monte said...

Hit the nail on the head my
i-friend. As Cathy said, this post is so right on target for how I am feeling lately. I spent this past week at Mepkin Abbey in SC with the Trappists. I was doing a private retreat, and joined them for the prayers and singing the psalms. But in my heart, SO RESTLESS! Yet, I knew that there is something about this that PUSHES me toward where God wants me to be. Like Paul writes, "I press on..." THANKS !!!

Monte

Adoro te Devote said...

monte ~ Always great to hear from you! Awesome you spent the week with the Trappists. What was it like? Of course, restlessness could be indicative in your case as withdrawl symptoms of the busyness of "real life". We're all so overstimulated.

uncle jim said...

Please ... not a china doll ... not a painted tainted doll ... not a "CAUTION - DO NOT CHEW" doll ... not a "May be dangerous to your health doll"

I could get deported.

If I "drop" your name, can I stay outa trouble do ya think?

Adoro te Devote said...

My goodness, Uncle Jim, NEVER!

One of the facilities I worked at in the past housed a very endearing woman. And every time she saw someone she liked, she'd say, "HiDoll!" Just like that, with the words run together. And her trademark phrase was ALWAYS a compliment.

So take it this way; in her parlance (and mine, in this context)...dolls are those who are pleasing, agreeable to a certain extent, and there to be treasured. One of my favorite fairy tales from a series of such books my Mom had (and I have now), is about a little girl whose dollhouse came to life for 24 hours. And those dolls had opinions, and boy were those opinions human and to be respected!

I don't think I've ever looked at dolls in the same way since! So when I use the term "doll" I'm not talkin' "Barbie" but, rather, it's a compliment!

:-)

Hope that helps.

Kat said...

very appropriate post adoro... if only you knew...