Attaining Unto The Presence of God
The Practice of the Presence of God with Spiritual Maxims:
Of Means For Attaining Unto The Presence of God
1. The first is a great purity of life; in guarding ourselves with care lest we should do or say or think on anything, which might be displeasing to God; and, when any such thing happens, in taking heed to repent thereof, humbly begging His forgiveness.
2. The second is a great faithfulness in the practice of His Presence, and in keeping the soul's gaze fixed on God in faith, calmly, humbly, lovingly, without allowing an entrance to anxious cares and disquietude.
3. Make it your study, before taking up any task to look to God, be it only for a moment, as also when you are engaged thereon, and lastly when you have performed the same. And forasmuch as without time and great patience this practice cannot be attained, be not disheartened at your many falls; truly this habit can only be formed with difficulty, yet when it is so formed, how great will be your joy therein!
Is it not right that the heart which is the first thing in us to have life, and which has dominion over all the body, should be the first and last to love and worship God, both when we begin and end our actions, be they spiritual or bodily, and generally in all the affairs of life? It is here therefore, in the heart, that we ought to strive to make a habit of this gaze on God; but that which is needful to bring the heart to this obedience we must do, as I have already said, quite simply, without strain or study.
4. Those who set out upon this practice let me counsel to offer up in secret a few words, such as "My God, I am wholly Thine. O God of Love, I love Thee with all my heart. Lord, make my heart even as Thine"; or such other words as love prompts on the instant. But take heed that your mind wanders not back to the world again; keep it fixed on God alone, so that, thus subdued by the will, it may be constrained to abide with God.
5. This practice of the Presence of God is somewhat hard at the outset, yet pursued faithfully, it works imperceptibly within the soul most marvelous effects; it draws down God's grace abundantly, and leads the soul insensibly to ever-present vision of God, loving and beloved, which is the most spiritual and most real, the most free and most life-giving manner of prayer.
6. Remember that to attain to this state, we must mortify the senses, inasmuch as no soul, which take delight in earthly things, can find full joy in the Presence of God; to be with Him we must leave behind the creature. (79-81)