Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Quote of the Day From Into Your Hands, Father by Stinissen

How do we know what God wills? We ought to "probe the heart and listen to the inspirations of his unction," writes Caussade, "which interprets the will of God according circumstances. The divine action, concealed thought it is, reveals its designs, not through ideas, but intuitively (par instincts)." Scholastic theology speaks of "potentia oboedientialis": a faculty that makes us capable of obeying. It lies deeper than all the other faculties of the soul. It is by means of this that we are open to God and in direct contact with him. It is innate in human beings. Since God wills to reveal himself to all, he creates human beings so that they are capable of receiving this revelation. Even from birth there is a door within the human person that stands open toward heaven. It is unfortunate that all too often one is taught to close this door.

How does this faculty of obedience function? It responds to God's will by an inner attraction, an instinct, and an intuition. De Caussade readily speaks of "attraits non suspects", an inner attraction, which there is no reason to doubt. It does not require much self-knowledge to realize that every inner attraction does not come from God. The better one knows oneself and, most of all, the better one knows God, the easier it is to distinguish between what comes from one's own ego and what comes from a deeper level where God dwells. Since God is a "God of peace" (1 Cor 14:33), his will leads, as a rule, to a deeper peace. Our egoism leads, on the other hand, to disappointment and emptiness. There is a criterion that can help us recognize God. If we feel a deeper peace after responding to an inner prompting, we can believe that we have said Yes to God. We often know beforehand if a certain action will bring us peace or unrest. We begin to develop an ability to discern, which makes it easier to recognize God. (pgs 53-54)
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The closer we come to this detachment, the less we plan. How much of our planning is a waste of time! We plan very many things that never happen, and we must constantly change our plans. Those who are detached can wait; they have patience. God's will reveals itself at the proper time, not before. Martin Lonnebo speaks of "the importance of giving life time. For most of us, a hasty decision is not good, especially if it is based on a passing emotion or an intellectual analysis. The deepest decisions ought to be made with the whole body, and not the least in the heart." It is in the heart that the Spirit lives and where we perceive his impulses. The Spirit has his plans, and when we have patience, he discloses them to us. There is perhaps no more effective way to die to oneself than by patience. The natural man wants to know what is going to happen. He wants to foresee, decide, and make plans. There is no limit to his impulsiveness. By not listening to him, but by listening patiently instead to what the Spirit is saying to our heart, the old man in us moves toward a certain death. (p. 59)

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