Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

My summary notes from Divine Intimacy:

DI 1: The Lord Cometh from Afar

  • Advent is the season of waiting and of fervent longing for the coming of Christ, for an intimate and personal encounter of Christ’s coming to our soul daily. 
  • Come, Lord, come! Give me new life, new love, new zeal for my apostolate. 

DI 2: Invitation to Sanctity

  • Sanctity is for all.
  • Jesus comes not only to save me, but to sanctify me. 
  • If I do not become a saint, it is entirely my own fault.

DI 3: Sanctity and the Plenitude of Grace

“Sanctity does not consist in the greatness of the works accomplished or of the gifts received, but in the degree of sanctifying grace and charity to which the soul has attained by faithful correspondence with God’s invitations. I, too, can aspire to this kind of sanctity with no fear of rashness or self-deception.” ~ Fr Gabriel

DI 4: Charity the Essence of Sanctity

  • Be you therefore perfect, as as Your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). 
  • “God is love” (1 John 4:16).
  • My level of holiness = my level of charity.
  • Good questions to ask from reflection:
    • Is learning to love well the thing that grasps your priorities every day?
    • How can I love well today? 

DI 5: Sanctity and God’s Will

  • Highest perfection = 100% conformity to God’s will
  • Goal = “A living will of God”

“The perfection of a soul may be measured by the degree to which it does the will of God, and finds happiness in doing it” ~ Fr. Gabriel

“The highest perfection consists not in interior favours, or in great raptures, or in visions, or in the spirit of prophecy, but in the bringing of our wills so closely into conformity with the will of God, that as soon as we realize He wills anything, we desire it ourselves with all our might, and take the bitter with the sweet” ~ St. Teresa of Avila, Foundations, 5. 

“The more joyfully souls do His will, the greater is their perfection” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux, St, I. 

“My God… I will not be a saint by halves, I am not afraid of suffering for You. One thing only do I fear, and that is to follow my own will. Accept, then, the offering I make of it, for I choose all that You will” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux, St, I. 

DI 6: Sanctity and My Duties

  • If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15)
  • Sanctity = perfection of charity = perfect conformity of our wills with the divine will. 
  • Everything is permitted by God. All is ordered by Him for my sanctification.
  • Say a generous “Yes” to God’s will
  • “Begin again” every day, every instant, humbling yourself and having total confidence in God’s will to sanctify my soul. 

“To them that love God, all things work together unto good” (Romans 8:28)

“Everything is a grace” ~ St. Therese, NV

DI 7: The Mount of Perfection8587e5d4ca0ad8a6db66a2c2d946280c.jpg

  • The mount of perfection = Dominated by perfect charity, God’s will becomes the one principal of activity which moves the soul towards the glory of God alone. 
  • “Way of nothing” = love nothing unless in perfect conformity with God’s will. Soul is reduced to “nada” by purification of senses & soul. 

 

DI 8: The Lord Will Not Delay

  • How to prepare for Christ’s coming? 
    1. Interior recollection = silence & prayer.
    2. Greater spirit of penance & mortification = interior & exterior detachment. 

 

DI 9: The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • The 2 essential conditions for achieving divine union are found in their fullness in Mary:
    1. Negative = nothing in soul’s will contrary to divine will.
    2. Positive = perfect conformity of soul’s will to divine will. 

DI 10: Invitation to Divine Intimacy

  • Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. ~Jn 14:23

  • God Himself – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – offers you the invitation to live with Him; He offers you His friendship. What a tremendous gift!

DI 11: In Search of God

  • The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21)
  • God is within us but He is hidden. The more we die to ourselves, the more we find God. 
  • Start of prayer = be alone with God & look at Him present within you. 

If a soul wishes to speak with its Father and enjoy His company, it does not have to go to heaven… it needs no wings to go in search of Him but only to find a place where it can be alone and look upon Him present within itself ~ St. Teresa of Avila, Way, 28

God is the treasure hidden in the field of thy soul ~ St. John of the Cross, SC, I, 9.

DI 12: Seeking God in Prayer

  • But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:6)

  • Exterior solitude = indispensable means for leading a serious interior life, yet interior recollection is even more important.
  • If we wish to find God in prayer, we must begin by making this very firm decision of our will: to put aside everything – all care, all preoccupation with human things – and concentrate all the powers of our souls on God alone.

The essence of prayer does not consist in thinking much, but in loving much ~ St Teresa of Avila, Int C, IV, I. 

DI 13: Seeking God in Our Daily Duties

  • We must seek God at all times and in all things to fulfill Christ’s command: “We ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1).

DI 14: The Virgin of the Incarnation

  • Mary = model for Advent.
  • She pondered the mystery in her heart.
  • She lived recollected with God in her soul.

DI 15: The Lord is Nigh

  • “To seek God” = 1 thing necessary.
  • Jesus is coming = 1 motive for joy.

DI 16: Guard of the Senses

  • Make not the house of my Father a house of traffic” (John 2:16)
  • Is my house a house of prayer? or a marketplace?
  • The soul = a living temple of the Blessed Trinity.
  • The senses = the doors which open to earthly things
  • TIP = Do not use your senses for anything that is not required by duty or which cannot serve to raise our mind to God. Guard your senses in the spirit of mortification.

DI 17: Interior Silence

  • Presence of God = “O Lord, hush all the voices of the world, of creatures, and of self, so that I may listen to no voice by Yours”
  • Principle = speak as little as possible with creatures in order to be able to speak as much as possible with God.
  • Speech – is to be used only in the measure required by duty or charity.
  • Interior silence of the interior senses too (interior senses = memory, imagination, sensitive feelings, thoughts, recollections of the past and useless conjectures about the future).
  • Perfection = to live interiorly in continual silence, listening to and adoring God present within her, and exteriorly, being and doing only what the divine Word indicates from moment to moment.

“If any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue… this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26), which is to be understood, says St. John of the Cross, “no less of inward speech than of outward” (P, 9).

This total silence, both exterior and interior, disposes the soul to know and listen to God who dwells within her: “One word spoke the Father, which Word was His Son, and this Word He speaks ever in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul” ~ St. John of the Cross, SM II, 21. 

“O eternal Word, utterance of my God, I desire to spend my life in listening to You!” ~ Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity

DI 18: Seeking God in Faith

  • Interior life is based on an intensive practice of the theological virtues, not on sentiments or spiritual consolations.
  • Faith = the way we know God. Way to arouse greater devotion. To believe in the mysteries revealed, especially those that seem less natural.

In heaven we shall see God by the light of glory, but on earth we know Him by the light of faith ~ Fr. Gabriel

Hear a word full of substance and unapproachable truth: it is that thou seek Him in faith and in love, without desiring to find satisfaction in aught” ~ St. John of the Cross, SC, I, II. 

Faith and love are like the guides of the blind which will lead thee by a way which thou knowest not to the hidden place of God ~ St. John of the Cross, SC, I, II. 

“Increase my faith!” (Luke 17:5)

DI 19: Seeking God in Love

  • Faith = the soul’s feet – helps us believe in God
  • Love = the soul’s eyes – helps us experience God

Faith is like the feet wherewith the soul journeys to God, and love is the guide that directs it ~ St. John of the Cross, SC, I, II. 

The love that is charity is pure benevolence toward God; its intensity depends upon its purity, that is, this love must consist in the one desire of pleasing God and doing His will, without seeking personal satisfaction ~ Fr. Gabriel

We love God, then, to the degree in which we apply ourselves to do His will, without any personal preoccupations or self-seeking ~ Fr. Gabriel

“If a soul is seeking God, its Beloved is seeking it much more” ~ St. John of the Cross, LF, 3, 28. 

DI 20: Seeking God in Creatures

  • Relations with Neighbours:
    • Purely human level – disturbs interior recollection + attachment to creatures + stops at human qualities + will weary & bore us + sees others as competition to time with God.
    • Supernatural level – faith = new vision + image of God = divine mark + child of God + others are God’s messengers + finds God in others + “externals” disappear + serve & love God in all + simple glance of faith.

As you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me” (Mt 25:40)

Creatures are traces of the passing of God ~ St. John of the Cross, SC, 5, 3. I

DI 21: Seeking God in Activity

  • “Passion” for God’s will = only do and will what God wills.
  • Peace in God’s presence = never dominated or carried away by activity but calm & recollected, even in the midst of the most intense activity.
  • TIP = As soon as you feel you are beginning to lose your interior calm, stop and retire with God.

Union of the soul with God is not accomplished so much in the sweetness of prayer, as in embracing perfectly the holy will of God ~ Fr. Gabriel

We must needs be careful, in doing good works, even those of obedience and charity, not to fail to have frequent inward recourse to our God ~ St Teresa of Avila, F, 5. 

DI 22: Behold the Saviour Comes

The incarnation of the Word is the greatest proof of God’s infinite love for men ~ Fr. Gabriel

Love is repaid by love! ~ Fr. Gabriel

If the valleys, that is, our deficiencies, are to be filled up by love, then the mountains and hills, that is, the vain pretences of pride, must be made low by humility ~ Fr. Gabriel

DI 23: The Call to the Apostolate

  • Jesus has positively willed that the salvation of man souls depends upon my collaboration with Him.
  • Prayer: may I live only for you Jesus & your work. Give me a great love for souls & their salvation

Souls are the “patrimony” of a spouse of Christ; their salvation is her “passion”; the welfare and growth of the Church are her “interests”; she lives only for Jesus and for His work ~ Fr. Gabriel

DI 24: The Interior Apostolate

  • The Apostolate consists in everything we can do in collaboration with Christ to diffuse the supernatural life in souls.
  • ALL exterior apostolate draws its strength and efficacy from the interior apostolate.
  • We have 2 fundamental means for our collaboration with Christ:
    1. Prayer – love alone gives value to my prayers.
    2. Sacrifice – love alone will make me eager to embrace this.

O Jesus, my Love, my vocation is found at last – my vocation is love! ~ St. Therese, St, 13.

A very little of this pure love is more precious in the sight of God and of the soul, and of greater profit to the Church than are all other works together ~ St. John of the Cross, SC 29, 2. 

DI 25: Apostolic Action

  • Interior life is the soul of the apostolate.
  • We need to imitate Jesus, the Apostle par excellence, in His apostolic action by focusing on union with God through prayer and sacrifice = the preliminary and indispensable requisite for the efficacy of any apostolic life.

DI 26: The Mystery of the Incarnation

  • The mystery of the Incarnation presents itself as the supreme manifestation of God’s exceeding charity toward man.
  • O happy fault! not in itself, but by the power of divine mercy.

DI 27: The Word was Made Flesh

  • The Word, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity, in whom all the divine perfections belong totally, took on a human nature.
  • “How could there be any limit to my trust?” ~ St. Therese

DI 28: The Great Mystery is Accomplished

  • Of all the works done by God in time and outside of Himself, the redemptive Incarnation of the Word is the greatest.
  • Yet this great work took place in obscurity, silence, secrecy, poverty, discomfort.

DI 29: The Nativity of Our Lord

  • God has become a baby for love of me!
  • Christmas reveals that God loves you in the most concrete, tangible, clear, touching way.
  • Permit me to contemplate & delight in your beauty, your goodness, your charity!

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