Friday, April 20, 2012

A Spiritual Master - Dom Hubert van Zeller

One of my favorite authors on prayer and spirituality is Dom Hubert van Zeller. He is a master of simple wisdom that is very challenging and deep. I highly recommend him, especially Holiness: A Guide for Beginners; Spirit of Penance, Path to God; and To Be In Christ. He has dozens of books and my guess is that all of them are terrific.

Let me quote from To Be in Christ. Here hes talks of having the mind of Christ:
The ability to think in Christ is not just a knack of the mind, a habit acquired by the belief that is is the most sensible way to go about things: it is a gift, a grace. Even in the human relationship between friends it would be impossible for both to think alike - on any subject, let alone on all subjects - unless the one had imparted his thought to the other. Jesus gives us his thinking provided we pray for it and are serious in trying to shape our lives according to his teaching. It is as a consequence of our prayer life that we hold up to his judgment the circumstances which face us, and it is on the findings of this submission that we come to judge as he judges, to think as he thinks.
He then talks about speaking in Christ:
In the light of the two sons, one of whom said he would work in his father's field and stayed where he was, while the other said he would not go yet eventually went, it is curious that Jesus should make words the deciding factor between acquittal and condemnation. There is no real contradiction, however, and what he surely meant us to understand was that while the main consideration must be the attitude of the mind and heart - the interior choosing - the exterior of expression is found in speech. Just as an air bubble under water forces itself to the surface in our character comes out in the form of what we say.

If this is so, then people who are habitually united with Jesus within will reflect him in their conversation. This does not mean that pieties will flow from their lips. There is all the difference between sanctity and sanctimoniousness. It means that what they say, coming as it does from a different level within themselves, will reach souls at a different level. Jesus in one soul will move out to Jesus in another. there will be a corresponding exchange. The man who is reliving the life of Jesus has no desire to edify, but those who talk to him come away the better for it.
The last section I will share is, in my opinion, the most profound. It is on living out God's will (with my emphasis added):
The terms of human existence are given us by God. We are born into a fallen world; we grow up with grand ideas of bettering this fallen world; we find in later life that our hopes have come to nothing, that our efforts have been wasted, that there is not a thing we can do about it. Either we make the act of faith or sulk. Our Lord could have avoided disappointment but he went ahead and accepted it. He could have avoided temptation but endured it. St. Paul, after experiencing disappointment and temptation, was able to say, "In whatever state I am I am content therewith." Contentment - so much easier to gauge than happiness - comes of surrender and not of achievement, not in the fulfilling of desires but in seeing God's hand in the dealing of the cards.
Lord give us the grace to have your mind, speak your words and live your life.

1 comment:

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Thanks, I am reading a book by him that I found at a book sale and loving it.