Abbot Philip: ‘Aware of God’s Loving Presence’

In April, our brothers at Christ in the Desert Monastery released a new disc of music titled “Blessings, Peace and Harmony: Monks of the Desert.” I urge you to practice mutual aid by purchasing this music. You will receive much more than you give!

Abbot Philip writes this week about the importance of spending time allowing God to love you:

“If I were to name one aspect of life that is the most important, not only for the monk but for anyone who is seriously following Christ, I would immediately think of that deep and intimately personal relationship of prayer.  As we seek to do God’s will, the most important aspect of life is deepening our relationship with God and that is done in prayer.  If we don’t have a strong and deep relationship with God, it becomes practically impossible to seek His will and strive to do His will.  The deepest question for me, many times, is this:  do I really want to do His will?  I have to admit that my answer is not always positive!  But I work at it.If we are going to pray, we have to take the time to pray.  Some people are able to do a million things and keep their hearts set on God.  Most of us need to focus on being still and trying to keep our heart on God.  Even for us monks who spend several hours a day in formal prayer and other time in personal prayer and adoration, there is a challenge to keep our hearts set on God.

Personally, I must take time every day just to sit in silence, aware of God’s loving presence.  It is really important to my life that I deepen my awareness that God loves me personally just as I am right now.  Being aware of God’s love for me allows me to love others in a very strong and wonderful way.  Being aware of God’s love for me allows me to go about my life with energy, joy and compassion.  There are stages in my life when I have abandoned God—never entirely, thanks be to God.  There are times when I lived my life externally but inside was in complete rebellion.

Thanks be to God for the grace of staying and persevering.  Why do we pray?  Somehow God has touched our lives and in that touching, we have found that prayer is important.  God has drawn us to Himself, even when we are not always sure what that means.  As we grow older and continue to try to do what is right, try to respond to this touch of God in our lives, there can be a wonderful flowing of faith and commitment.”–Abbot Philip, OSB (Abbot’s Notebook, May 2, 2012)

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