The Divine Heart of Reality – A personal Gospel Contemplation (Horizons of the Heart 12)

This is part of an Advent series of Gospel contemplations in the spirit of the Ignatian Exercises. The introduction offers the format for Gospel Contemplation.

This is an Ignatian Gospel meditation that extended over a week of quiet prayer. The last grace I felt Jesus was telling me I should be asking for was the gift of joy. So this is where I began this meditation on the birth of Jesus.

Entering Prayer

Psalm 99 (TPT)

Come on, everyone! Let’s sing for joy in the Lord!
Let’s shout our loudest praises  to our God who saved us.
Everyone come meet his face with a thankful heart
make him great by your shouts of joy!

…Come and kneel before this Creator-God!
…For we are the lovers he cares for and he is the God we worship.

…Your ancestors challenged me with their complaining
even though I had convinced them of my power and love….

Jesus, how gently you teach me.

Joy is not a feeling.
It is not a satisfaction with one’s own place in the divine plan.
It is not “everything going my way.”

I rejoice, shouting praises because God has saved me.
I exalt God.
I meet him face-to-face and the meeting itself opens of a flood of eucharistic-worship.
His Face. I love him!

Joy is the reward, the result of loving praise offered 24-7 by a grateful heart of one who has escaped utter devastation by God’s acts of power and love towards his lovers that he cares for.
You have shown me your power (Baptism=death and resurrection) and your love (Communion).

Grace—self-forgetfulness: absorption in Jesus.

Imagining Yourself Present

…A child, I am kneeling next to Mary at the side of the manger… My left hand on the rough wood, covered by hers, my right hand on Jesus’ head.

Angie Menes, Cathopic

The force of her adoration. Not a feeling but the reality of Jesus’ possession of her. She can’t tear herself away from his face.

Imagining the Gospel Events in the Present

My hand gently rubbing Jesus’ head as he lies in the manger, hours after birth.
I am a young woman… Jesus, a baby, newly born.
Flesh—the Word made Flesh.

I am touched deeply by his mercy, his smile, the outpouring of God’s love..
I pour myself out in worship.

Our faith is rooted in this very human experience, in real historical events, the tender touch of the everlasting Real….
About God becoming flesh and flesh being taken up by the Word made Flesh.

I rest here, touching the heart’s sunrise, the Dawn of our salvation.
My own inner mental constructions I set aside. I bury them in the name of Jesus and return to the eye of heart. Jesus… Jesus… Jesus… I stay connected to my own humanity and to the humanity of Jesus Christ.

grateful praise…
humble joy…

Observing Attractions and Resistance

Jesus (Phil 2:5ff)

  • he did not cling to equality with God
  • emptied himself
  • became man
  • died to rescue us the ungrateful…

Here, in the manger before me, Jesus is emptied of his divinity
I need to empty myself of Self.

At death I will have wanted to have already let go of everything.
Jesus let go of his Glory to be Servant.

What is this resistance within me?

What our minds select to focus on and ignore is regulated by our desires, absorbed by our egocentric preoccupations. As our desires are purified our perceptions are transformed…
Jesus, help me…

Entering the Mystery of the Story

Jesus (Phil 2:5ff)
Humility is the emptying of oneself for the sake of making room for otherness.
The Father poured out his love in creation, making room for us, his creatures, all creation, who would be welcomed into the dance of humble giving and receiving, loving and surrendering, that is the Trinitarian life, the atmosphere of eternity. However, in the garden we chose not to obey, not to worship, not to wait, not to believe in God’s love and his designs…

The Son emptied himself for our salvation, to restore us to the glory for which we had been created.

The Spirit is poured out on the earth at Pentecost, through the sacraments, in prayer, in grace, in divine designs for the sanctification and deification of every person on this earth until the end of time when we will be all one in Christ and stand before the Father to his Glory.

Quiet awe….

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay 

Moving through deepening levels of stillness

I am a child again… playing…around the manger…. Nothing to grasp at… Nothing to show…
We are asked by Jesus to be children, the only way to receive divine guidance is to be a child, without self-guidance, worry, fear, vanity. To plan our responses to possible future circumstances is to pile up useless worry and vain fears and vain alarms and vain hopes…

I am but a child playing beneath the manger, looking at all the adoring angels… Receiving the impressions God makes through subtle movements in my soul.

My Father is acting. I can play. The divine Heart of reality. Worry accomplishes nothing.

Stay present. Don’t plan for the future at the expense of the present childhood.
Jesus lived the present of each moment, trusting all to his Father’s acting.

Rest here in the present, beneath the manger, surrounded by the angels. Stay here. Soak in whatever God is accomplishing and bringing about.

Desiring to follow Jesus

Jesus, what is the gift I should be praying for?

I immediately hear within myself the word “intimacy.” You should be praying for intimacy.
Mary and Joseph were “children.” They lived in your hands where they were secure (not safe), led, cared for, protected, as you shepherded them through life, simple as doves.

I beg for the grace of intimacy…so that with adult responsibilities I may cling, like Mary and Joseph and Jesus, to you, Father, as a child to its mother. In this is true joy.

What would this look like? How would it play out in my relationships? In prayer? In service? In play?

Psalm 99 (TPT)

Come on, everyone! Let’s sing for joy in the Lord!
Let’s shout our loudest praises  to our God who saved us.
Everyone come meet his face with a thankful heart
make him great by your shouts of joy!

…Come and kneel before this Creator-God!
…For we are the lovers he cares for and he is the God we worship.

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