On Recollection and the Presence of God

On Recollection and the Presence of God

You think you would be less distracted if you were away from the circumstances in which God has placed you; I think, on the contrary, that you would have fewer distractions if you accepted things with more conformity to God’s will and if, in your work, you thought of yourself as a servant of Jesus Christ whom he employs as it seems best to him and who is equally content in whatever service is exacted from her. Try to live in your present state as though you were never to leave it; think more of making good use of your crosses than of getting rid of them under pretext of having more liberty with which to serve God.

St Claude de la Colombiere from The Spiritual Direction of St Claude de la Colombiere.

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  • I’m profoundly attached to the devotion, but NOT the contemporary (or not so contemporary, actually more Victorian) sentimental expression of it. The history fascinates me too, for it is ancient, not Victorian, the first clues I found here.
    and here

    We are blessed that the narthex of our parish Church featured a huge stained-glass window on the theme of Jesus’s sacred heart )that more closely resembles the Divine Mercy image in glass) – with the five saints who promoted the devotion (Gertrude, St Frances de Sales, St John Eudes, Margeret Mary Alacocque—and one more I can’t recall right now—featured in adoration each at the end of a different ray of light emanating from a central radiant heart (can;t find a picture on the website, will try the Wayback Machine later – in a rush to get ready for a late Mass, allergies keep me home bound right now, urgh) 

    Check out the Wikipedia pages on these topics, I update them occaisionally with whatever I discover that’s related. Will try to add some more details on facets of my own appreciations later, suffice it to say the window was relocated to the perpetual adoration chapel when our parish expanded into new quarters and this has been very enriching for me personally in meditating dury my weekly holy hour with the Blessed Sacrament.

  • [contd.]
    “le coeur de mon coeur Jesu Christ” was a popular theme for cartoon-catechetical chapbooks to coax the wayward along the way of purity of heart in the literary genre of emblem books (woodcuts as teaching tool originate in Asia) I’ve never been succesful finding the Latin (ie Catholic) original “School of the Heart” online, but here’s a page taken from the Anglicized version

    which removes all references to verses you’d expect to see redacted by a member of the mystical body of the Protestant persuasion and makes substitutions in the poems accordingly to fit.

    St. Gertrude developed the ‘pure of heart’ aspects of the devotion along the lines of the seven storey mountain of Thomas Merton, popular in Florence at the time of Dante, but later expressed as branches of the vine – pruned to beat fruit:

    .n.b. the curlesques form a heart in the center of the illuminated diagrams.

    Sadly even those for whom the devotion would have been most fruitful sometimes failed to be moved by it, perhaps deficits of local aristocracy or clerical state repulsed devout hearts that were a little hardened (wars of religion can do that sadly), for example the sculptor commissioned to craft this odd reliquary :
    joined his daughter as a Calvinist soon after completing the piece (the brave Baron was slain in battle aged 25. his faithful soldiers risked their lives to reclaim his heart and returned it to his grief-stricken widow who memorialized him in their ancestral chapel with this ‘tomb’ (no body that was buried by the victors where it fell). Here’s a close up of the soul presenting his heart to God
    note the resemblence to this (later) chapbook emblem
    and this much later piece of sculpture by Rodin he called “The ark of the covenant” and sometimes called by art collectors “Cathecral”

    (note Rodin often let his assistants model the hands and feet on his works, because his eyesight was compromised for such close-up detailed work. These may have been copies of originals modelled by his muse Camille Claudel, they are two right hands, ie two separate persons are represented , not a right and left of a single person, <i>“le coeur de mon coeur”<i> in a secular vein so to speak, that respectfully however does not discount the divine for the space where the heart would be is defined by negative space, apophatically-speaking perhaps? We believe in one God creator of all things visible and invisible, right? (Rodin’s home in the suburbs of Paris was formerly occupied by a Sacred Heart convent school, its not so fanciful to imagine he imbibed their ‘good vibes’ perhaps) Pray for him and the many who suffered – and still do, see Syria – in the divisive wars of religion. May His peace prevail, particularly through devotion to the Sacred Heart ! God Bless

  • Clare, Thanks for all the info and links. I’m definitely going to read them all… when I’m not quite so exhausted.

  • I know exactly what you mean by being to attached to the literal. I think this just comes down to people like us being more logical in our thinking and less “holistic” or “intuitive”.

    You know how they say there are 2 sides to the brain, or 2 modes of thinking… Logical and Intuitive, or Left & Right. Or Focused and Holistic.

    Well, I think that Ideally we would be balanced in our approach to how we view the world through these 2 ways of thinking. Meaning that our left and right brain, or our logical and inutiive perceptions would be balanced.

    But people like us, because I know I am just like this, i think we almost have an overdeveloped logical brain, like as if 1 arm is much bigger or more muscular than the other.

    I have been trying to make an effort to “let go” of the need to logically understand or process things definitively, and have been trying to just accept or see the world in a more intuitive/holistic way, and it has been working slowly but surely.

    One of the most interesting breakthroughs I have had, or realized, is that when you “TRUST” your mind, it actually performs very well, even in a logical sense. So you can let got a bit and experiment without needing to control or understand so much, and it actually accelerates your logical mind and doesn’t impede its functioning.

    Anyways, really interesting post, take care!

    Martin from BMHQ.