Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J

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The Liturgy of the Heart is a prayer based on the immanence of God, the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. The indwelling of the Blessed Trinity is an objective reality. We make it a subjective reality by becoming aware of it. And we become aware or it by the exercise of the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

The awareness of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity leads us to the discovery of the “true self,” the self that is inextricably and intrinsically united with God, (I am WE). And it saves us from the “false self,” the absolutely self-autonomous self (I am I) which does not exist, except in our imagination, and is the source of so many of our problems

To celebrate the liturgy of the heart we take a comfortable position, sitting or reclining. Take a deep breath and relax. Become attentive and receptive. Notice your breath. Follow it in and out as you breathe. Find your pulse. Is it weak or strong, fast or slow? Our breath and our pulse are indirect experiences of the presence of God. Now we exercise the virtues of faith, hope and love.

FAITH. Faith assures us of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity. Faith tells us that we were created by God. Created not made. There is a difference. You make something by organizing pre-existing material. You put it together and when you get finished you can walk away. It doesn’t need you any more. When God creates something out of nothing he must continually sustain it in existence. That is what we mean by immanence. God is present in and sustains every one of his creatures. That is why we can find God in all things.

Think of a sponge in a late. The sponge is upheld by the lake. Every fiber of the sponge is interpenetrated by the lake. The lake is not the sponge, and the sponge is not the lake. That is the way God is in me. I am not God and God is not me. Think of the song in a singer or the dance in the dancer. Jesus used the example of the vine and the branches. “I am the vine and you are the branches.” (John 15:5) “In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Faith also reveals to us that through baptism we become temples of the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Jesus flows through our bloodstream to every fiber of our being.

HOPE. Now that faith has made us aware of the presence of God we simply rest in His presence. The virtue of hope assures us that we can rest in the presence of God with great confidence and trust, and let ourselves go completely. So we let go. We let go of the past with all of its guilt and failings. We commit the past to the mercy of God. Then we let go of the future with all of its fears and anticipations. We commit the future to the Providence of God. Now we rest in the grace of the present moment. We let go and we let God, “whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Now all is well. Resting in the presence of God we may fall asleep. Wonderful! The Psalmist has some consoling words for us. “In vain is your earlier rising and going later to rest…when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.” (Ps. 127)

LOVE. “The love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.” This is the only love there is, the compassionate, forgiving, healing and creating love of God. We are not creators of love; we are only receivers and transmitters of this love. This love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit fills our whole being and then overflows from us to others. We begin to reap the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Shalom, peace. “My peace I give you.” “It is I, do not be afraid.” Joy is the most infallible sign of the awareness of the presence of God. So we enjoy being in the presence of God. Now there is no need for words, thoughts or images. We are content just to be here in this intimate, personal rendezvous with God, to enjoy his presence and be possessed by his love. We are now fulfilling the First and Greatest Commandment. We realize now that this is not only the Greatest Commandment, but it is also our greatest privilege, highest dignity and most satisfying joy. We have discovered that love is the greatest prayer. Prayer is the awareness and the expression of our personal relationship with God. There is no greater, more intimate personal relationship than love. So we can pray always, simply by being-in-love with God.


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