Abbot Philip: ‘I Have Always Been Seeking God … Sort Of’

Abbot Philip

“When I was younger I often felt sad that I was so indecisive about seeking God. Now I simply accept it and work against it. Feeling sad did not help me at all. Realizing that I am a weak human being— without judging that as being something awful—has helped me. I realize that my goal is life is not to arrive at some imagined perfection but simply to continue in the struggle to give my life to this God who loves me so much and who never abandons me.

I have always believe, sort of. I have always been seeking God, sort of. As I have grown older that believing and seeking God have taken a stronger and stronger place in my life. I don’t have confidence in myself but my confidence in God’s love for me has grown to be the most important aspect of seeking God. God has been drawing me to Him all my life and I have been given glimpses of His loving presence and I have experienced at times His love for me.

It is not as though I am aware that I live in His presence always, even though by faith I believe that. It is not as though I sense His presence always. Instead I have come to an inner conviction and deep faith that He is always with me and that I should take time to be still and be as aware of His presence as I can.”–Abbot Philip, Christ in the Desert monastery (The Abbot’s Notebook for September 12, 2018)

Richard Rohr: ‘It All Comes Down to Confidence and Gratitude’

Richard Rohr reminds me that no matter how hard I fight with my brothers and sisters (of late, it’s been the U.S. Catholic bishops) that it should never be in such a way that I wouldn’t sit down to dinner with them when Jesus issues the invitation.

“When we start making the Eucharistic meal something to define membership instead of to proclaim grace and gift, we always get in trouble; that’s been the temptation of every denomination that has the Eucharist. Too often we use Eucharist to separate who’s in from who’s out, who’s worthy from who’s unworthy, instead of to declare that all of us are radically unworthy, and that worthiness is not even the issue. If worthiness is the issue, who can stand before God? Are those who receive actually saying they are “worthy”? I hope not. It is an ego statement to begin with.

The issue is not worthiness; the issue is trust and surrender or, as Thérèse of Lisieux said, “It all comes down to confidence and gratitude.” I think that explains the joyous character with which we so often celebrate the Eucharist. We are pulled into immense gratitude and joy for such constant and unearned grace. It doesn’t get any better than this! All we can do at Eucharist is kneel in gratitude and then stand in confidence. (Actually, St. Augustine said that the proper Christian posture for prayer was standing, because we no longer had to grovel before such a God or fear any God that is like Jesus.)”–Richard Rohr, ofm

Adapted from Eucharist as Touchstone