August 3, 2017
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (Ps. 84:10)
My brothers & sisters:
Josef Pieper is a German Catholic philosopher, and within his writing, he makes an extensive argument for contemplation as one of the profound “heights” of personal existence—understood here in the philosophical sense, contemplation is the capacity to be present to the world, to one’s self, to the transcendent, most especially to God.
It’s only those who know how to see the world in its stillness that grasp the way in which our sojourn across the earth is a very transitory, ultimately empty one, without the Lord.
The deepest human suffering is always marked by an existential encounter with the immediacy of human existence: Imagine yourself with a gun placed to your head, and everything suddenly totally worthless, besides you, with your soul, your heart, your gaze that can look inward and outward, and your fate lost to your own control—would you be at peace? Would you receive the end of your earthly life with open hands, or would this moment break you? The only way for us to receive, and to be shaped by, what the Lord gives us—through the profundity of his providence—is to live always in the courts of the Lord, that kingdom within us, the Lord as the highest good, the only good, the “First Beginning” (St. Bonaventure).
In his treatise on uniformity with God’s will (linked above), St. Alphonsus Liguori writes about a saint who was locked out of the place he had intended to stay the night—and instead passed the night on the grounds outside, beneath snowfall. The next morning, he was found in a state of delight. In other words, he was found to be one living at the threshold of the Lord’s house, which has no limits, has no doors or windows, can be borne into the prison of earthly hell and into the most sacred of churches, where Jesus dwells, the Holy of Holies.
This is our call: to live always in Him, with Him, for Him, at His disposal.
I am grateful for those among the fellowship in Peru at this very moment, to over the coming days serve Jesus in his children. Let us pray for one another: Jesus, make our wills perfectly united to your own, and in giving us this union, give us your eyes, so that we may see you, and your hands, so that we may serve like you, and your heart, meek and humble, so that we may walk in the perfect simplicity that is your very essence.