Living in the Presence of God
To live in the present moment, to have all our faculties—sight, hearing, mind, soul and spirit—attuned to the presence of God, to enjoy the deepest connection that we are capable to all creation, to the other people with us, to God himself and what He might be saying to us right now. That is the beauty of living in the present/in the presence of God. It is to be attuned to the spirit of all those present, to be open to all that is happening and what it means. It is joy and peace and love all wrapped up into one being, God’s being right here, right now. Here is how retreat leader Paula D”Arcy describes this ability:
“There is a love which itself has the power to free the human heart…The truth of this love is that, if we can be uprooted from our daily preoccupations and taken by direct experience into its presence, then a profound transformation is possible. Whoever arrives at this place looks at the world differently. The distinctions on the surface no longer exist. Here it is possible to suspend our certainties and touch something greater: the Spirit within us. ”
What a gift of joy and peace and love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control lies in this ability to be present to God. We are given the fruit of the Spirit in these moments. And we want to return to them more and more. They become the answer to all our prayers.
How do we get to this point of attunement to God? The most important thing we have to learn is how to disengage from the power that the mind has over us—those repetitive thoughts that have accompanied us from our childhood, still trying to make us live up to who our parents, our culture taught us to be. We have to become an observer of these thoughts and to move beyond their power over us. Then, no matter what life brings us, we rest in the peace of God.
I had hoped that the thoughts would go away, but I do know that I can just see them for what they are and not let them upset me. Here what one of my readers today wrote about the way the mind thinks in a comment: “For years I allowed myself to be held prisoner to what others thought or would think of me, whewwwwww what a miserable time it was for me, yet I wore the mask of confidence well. Question after question would be asked of God as to why he made me so different than everybody else.” This is the kind of preoccupation with the mind that we need to release to God, so that we can be in His presence.
In “The Practice of the Presence of God” Brother Lawrence in the 17th wrote “That in order to form a habit of conversing with GOD continually, and referring all we do to Him; we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.” Let us remember that it takes practice to be open to His presence, that practice makes perfect or at the very least attainable. Please note that Brother Lawrence is talking about prayer in a new way—not just words but actual bringing our whole being to our prayer, to His presence. It is that state of openness with the totality of our being that lives in the presence of God.
 Richard Rohr’s daily email, Jun3 16, 2020 Paula D’Arcy, retreat leader, speaking.