The spiritual life is one of continual coming home to the Father. Years ago I read this quote from Henri Nouwen’s little book, “Making all things new.” “The whole purpose of Jesus’ ministry is to bring us to the house of his Father….He came to lift us up into loving community with the Father.” Our coming home to the Father is a spiritual discipline that each of as men need to cultivate. We are away from home, when we are away from our soul. So have lost their spiritual address, not having a sense of who they are in Christ. Practicing the presence of the Lord, is remembering that the Lord dwells within our hearts. Here we find our unique spiritual address. This is the hidden life of God within. Paul reminds us, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)
As men we can live very comfortably in the surface of life. We can be in the words of Richard Rohr, “circumference people with little access to the center.” The boundaries of our lives can be confused for the essence. The result is that we spend our time thinking about God and doing things for God, rather then having a relationship with God. Many men know there must be more, but they do not know how to access the reality of a loving relationship with God. For that to happen, men need to sink with their minds into their hearts. Then our knowing will be more than information about and descriptions of who God is, becoming instead a knowing that is participatory and transformational. If our knowing is not personal, then God thought of as ”out there,” an object of our thoughts, rather then “being within,” known as personal friend and savior
Albert Haase, a Francisican priest, has written a wonderful book on the spiritual life entitled, “Coming home to Your True Self.” He quotes Meister Eckhart as preaching that “God is at home.” Home for Eckhart means within the soul. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Men, think of it, if you are a believer, who has trusted Christ at the core of your being, whether you are conscious of it or not, there is a intimate communion taking place with God. Coming home is being awakened to this inner reality. Haase quotes Catherine of Genova as saying, “My me is God.” Wow – wrap your mind around that thought!!
Yes, God is at the center. It is up to us to become aware of this presence within. Remember the issue is not the absence of the presence of God, but our lack of awareness. Getting used to the presence within will at first take some discipline. With your will, you will need to continually come home to the Father, through Jesus, by the work of the Spirit. For me it is always helpful to remember that the Spirit is doing His work within my soul, as I ask Jesus to bring me into the presence of the Father. This is a continuing practice throughout the day. In this practice we can be reminded of the words of Jesus, “I will not abandon you as orphans” (John 14:18). Rather he said, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with each of them” (John 14:23). Wow!! There you have it. The Father and the Son live within each of us.
The image of coming home has been very helpful for me in practicing the presence of the Lord. As I have learned to be attentive and aware of my soul, I come to a greater assurance that I am not orphaned. How about you? Do you feel orphaned at times on your journey. The spiritual practice of continually coming home can be of significant help. Visualize yourself coming home throughout the day, as you become aware of your heart and the reality of God living in and with you. If you need help, the simple practice of placing hour hand over your heart can be benefical. But always remember in this practice that while you are paying attention to your soul, your “faith look” is always up and out to the one who is continually communicating his loving word to your soul.
The image of coming home has been very helpful for me, in practicing the presence of the Lord. As I have become more attentive to my soul I have the assurance that I am not orphaned. By the way, that means the good, bad and ugly found within. (More about that in another blog). How about you? Do you feel orphaned at times on your journey? The spiritual practice of continually coming home can be real help. Visualize yourself coming home throughout the day, as you become aware of your heart and the reality of God living within you. But always remember in this practice, that while you are paying attention to your soul, your “faith look” is always up and out to the one who is continually communicating his loving Word and Presence to your soul.