The God who is There.

A member of the court of Louis the XIV once wrote Archbishop Fenelon for advice about the distress he felt, due to his occupation, that prevented him from having all of the time alone with the Lord that he wanted. Fenelon wrote him this:

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“Happy then those whom God takes away from their own will to attach to his own! Those whom God is pleased to chain with his own hands are free and happy, as those who chain themselves by their passions are miserable. In this apparent captivity, they can no longer do what they wish. So much the better. They do from morning to night against their inclinations, what God wants them to do. He holds them bound by hand and foot by the lines of his will. He never leaves them a single moment to themselves. He is jealous of this tyrannous “I,” which wants all for itself. He leads relentlessly from vexation to vexation, from importunity to importunity, and makes you accomplish his greatest plans by these conditions of boredom, by childish and idle conversations, of which we are ashamed. He presses the faithful soul, and no longer lets it get its breath. Hardly one annoying person goes away before God sends another to advance his work. We should like to be free to think about God, but we unite ourselves much better with him through his crucifying will, than by consoling ourselves with sweet and loving thoughts of his goodness. We should like to be by ourselves to be more with God. We do not realize that there is no worse way of being with God, than to want to be also by ourselves…

“It is true that we ought to profit by all our free moments to disengage ourselves. Indeed we must before everything else keep some time to relax mind and body in a state of recollection. But for the rest of the day, when the torrent sweeps us away in spite of ourselves, we must let ourselves be carried off with no regret. You will find God in this sweeping away. You will find him in all the more pure a way, because you will not have chosen this way of seeking him.”
(p.16, Christian Perfection)

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This from a man who was best friends with Madame Guyon. You don’t get much deeper than these guys. But Fenelon reminds us that, since God is sovereign, you don’t have to fear that “life” will interfere with your relationship with God. You are no farther from him in your job or your daily chores than you are when you are alone with him in silence. Both times are needed, mind you. But ultimately one is not better than the other.

That’s really good. Because there’s a whole lot more of the former than there is of the latter.

Thanks, Francois. I needed that.

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2 Responses to “The God who is There.”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Merci, Francois!
    Thanks, Neil. Great reminder.

  2. Herobill Says:

    I found him like this today… when a half dozen students were all shouting questions at once (putting off their assignments).

    I lowered my head and paused for one very long second. Heaven came in. And it changed my day.

    Thanks, Neil, for this reminder.

    I actually read it earlier in the week, and had a couple of other moments like this, too.

    Keep on blogging, bro!

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