Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sept 19- Before the Beauty of God.

The great painter Ingres gave his pupils this precious counsel, "Study beauty only on your knees."

Thus before the least objects possessing aesthetic value, this artist could have one adopt an attitude of prayer.

Was he wrong? What are the infintesimal drops of beauty that conceal realities here below if not reflections of God? In the same manner that the sun is reflected in a drop of dew, God is often manifested in a mere nothing to the soul who knows how to see Him.
What is to be said then, of the attitude one should have in contemplating God Himself? Assuredly Infinite Beauty does not reveal Itself to us here below without veils. God permits us to contact Him only through faith; earth is not the place to see Him face to face. But does not faith, if it is lively, disclose many things to me? What accounts for its lack of vitality in me if not my negligent spirit of adoration that has become routine, weak in its desire to possess its Adorable Master?

Must there not be more respect in my prayer, not so much an exterior respect perhaps as an interior effort to keep myself in recollection, rich in possession and in conquering love? Am I not too often inert, drowsy, without a living will? Young artists were counseled to kneel to study the beauties here below, and I dare to be so remiss in my adoration before the Beauty of the Most High?

"My God I believe that You are Infinite Beauty, that You deserve the most respectful adoration. Pardon my negligences in posture at prayer; give me a more active faith, a more ardent and more vital comprehension of what both the virtue of religion and my title of religious demand. If there is a place or a moment when I ought to merit this beautiful title in its fullness, it is when I am invited to become more closely united to You in prayer. Make of my prayers true prayers; of my devotion, true adoration; of my poor efforts to unite myself with You, a love that in its ever increasing veneration and fidelity is truly religious."
from the book Meditations for Religious
by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

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