Attentive to the Divine InfluenceFATHER JOHN TAULER O.P.
Be sure of this, children; there is not a single instant in which God does not pour into us some divine influence, which we would plainly feel if we were but more attentive.
...for God is borne on by his nature to communicate himself unceasingly, and all the nature of our spirit is formed to receive him. God is all act, and the soul is all receptivity. The soul should be to God, who is our origin and our end, what the stream is to its fountainhead.
But, alas, poor creatures that we are, we are ever going out of ourselves and remaining in the life of the senses! Therein we deceive and injure ourselves, even though we know that Jesus Christ has said: "God is a spirit, and they that adore him must adore him in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:24), and, therefore, not externally alone with the senses and the imagination.
But do not fancy that I wish to strip you of all images; there is one which I would engrave deeply in your soul. Enter, then into your interior, and from there take your flight, even to the heart of God; there possess yourself of that supreme image which is eternally being formed, and which God is ever drawing forth from the abyss of his divinity, namely, Jesus Christ, God's Only Begotten Son.
Go yet deeper into that divine abyss in order to sink that ravishing image yet further down into the depths of your being, as if in a mirror, until it penetrates all the powers of your soul. Whether you do walk or stand still, do eat or drink, sleep or wake, let not that beloved image be absent one instant from your mind and your imagination. According to it, guide and arrange all your being and all your life, whether inward or outward. Do as a painter does who would copy a masterpiece; at every touch of his brush his eye is carefully fixed on the model before him, which he reproduces as exactly as he possibly can.
Enter you, therefore, into the divine depths; contemplate there unceasingly that divine and enrapturing image and all that it has received of the Father, and make after that picture the copy you desire; fix your gaze upon both its divinity and its holy humanity; study its humility and kindness.
Father John Tauler, O.P. "Attentive to the Divine Influence." from Johannes Tauler, Sermons (Paulist Press, 2002).
This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in December, 2013.
Johannes Tauler OP was a German Dominican, one of the greatest mystics and preachers of the Middle Ages. He was born at Strasburg about 1300; died at the same place, 16 June, 1361. The centre of Tauler's mysticism is the doctrine of the visio essentice Dei, the blessed contemplation or knowledge of the Divine nature. He takes this doctrine from Thomas Aquinas, but goes further than the latter in believing that the Divine knowledge is attainable in this world also by a perfect man, and should be sought by every means. The way to God is through love; God replies to its highest development by His presence. Tauler gives advice of the most varied character for attaining that height of religion in which the Divine enters into the human subject. Johannes Tauler, Sermons is published by Paulist Press.
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