Presence Project Week 5
O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice; let me hear it. (Song of Songs 8:13)
My deepest me is God! —St. Catherine of Genoa
After emerging through his ‘dark night’ in his first decade as a Carmelite, Brother Lawrence continued to see himself as sinful and frequently confessed to God and sought to abandon himself into God’s hands. He spoke often of surrender, trust, renunciation, and self-emptying. He taught that “total surrender to God is the sure way” and that “in the beginning we must faithfully act and renounce ourselves, and after that come only unspeakable delights.” He “renounced for the sake of his love everything other than God, and [he] began to live as if only [God] and [he] existed in the world.” And he realized that to achieve this depth of relationship with God that one’s “heart must be empty of all other things because God desires to possess it exclusively.”
In one of his most penetrating insights, Lawrence realizes that we become entangled not just in worldly things but also in spiritual things, and that such things interfere with our desire and ability “to arrive at self-abandonment to God to the extent that he willed.” Standing so completely in the light of God’s presence revealed to Lawrence the need to unequivocally renounce those things that do not lead to God, and at the same time it showed him that this constant turning toward God eventually works to “rid us of self-love without our even realizing it.”
Ponder Catherine’s quote for a few minutes: “My deepest me is God!”
● If our deepest me is God, what are the shallow me’s?
● And if our deepest me really is God, what does that say about how we might live our
● What does it say about what harmony means?
● Maybe it just means to not fight against our deepest self