December 6, 2011

Recollection

To recollect oneself, to collect together the powers of one's soul, this is a beautiful kind of prayer which can be refreshing for the heart.  In our hectic world, frequent recourse to such prayer, if only for a few moments, is essential if we are not to forget our true purpose. Normally prayerful reflection on the life of Christ or a Scripture verse or even one's own life in the light of God's love helps the soul enter into this kind of resting attentiveness. Although it entails renouncing self-preoccupation, withdrawing from all kinds of dissipating distractions and silencing the constant monologue of one's own bloated ego, the quiet of Christian recollection is not really an esoteric emptiness.  It is not about the attainment of some self-satisfied state of consciousness.  Instead, this faith imbued silence is filled with a transforming fullness of the Word.  Like the brilliance of heaven illumines the darkness of night, in this kind of prayer eternal Light shines in the dark voids of our existence casting its loving wisdom over the captive mind, a radiance in which we find the truth about God and about ourselves.

In this prayerful silence, the One who embraced the silence of death discloses the heart-piercing depths of his divine love.  This is a chastening silence, a humbling silence: this contrite stillness, this grateful quiet, this deep surrender to both holy sorrow and at the same time unimaginable joy.  Like the womb of the Virgin Mary, this sacred silence of soul, visited by angels, is pregnant with deep spiritual currents of all that is good, holy and true about our humanity, currents ready to born into irrepressible jubilation.

This silence seeks in the distant frontiers of our innermost being an encounter with the One who has entered an even deeper silence to search for us.  He has made his home in the vast wilderness of our hearts.  A moment of mutual recognition between the Bridegroom and the soul waits to be realized in this sacred stillness.  A sacred banquet is prepared.  Christian recollection is not an end in itself, but a threshold - a pathway to a deeper encounter with the Lord, to a mysterious meeting of unimaginable intimacy.  This prayerful peace aches with anticipation, a longing for Someone, the hidden fulfillment of all desire.  For in this silence of thoughts drenched with God into stillness, the Trinity waits to embrace us, to envelop us in love, to establish us in peace, to catch us up into a foretaste of a life this world cannot hold.