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The Paradise of God is the heart of man

"Deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum(‘My delights were to be with the children of men.’ Proverbs 8:31). The paradise of God, so to say, is the heart of man. 

Does God love you? Then love you Him. (…)

Become accustomed to talking to Him face to face, familiarly, with confidence and love, as to a friend, the dearest friend you have, who loves you so much. 

It is a great mistake, as we have seen, to treat God with diffidence (…) An even greater mistake is to suppose that conversing with God is nothing but tedium and bitterness. 

No, it is not true. Non… habet amaritudinem conversatio illius, nec taedium convictus illius (‘Her [Wisdom’s] conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness.’ Wisdom 8:16). Ask those souls that love Him with a true love, and they will tell you that amidst the sorrows of their life they find no greater and truer relief than in conversing lovingly with God. 

You are not yet required so to apply your minds as to make you forget all your business and all your pleasure. 

It is only required of you that without neglecting your occupations you should act towards God as you act towards those whom you love and who love you. 

Your God is always with you, indeed inside you: In ipso… vivimus, et movemur, et sumus (‘In him we live and move and be.’ Acts 17:28). 

There is no doorkeeper, for whoever wishes to speak to God; indeed, it is God’s pleasure that you should talk familiarly with Him. 

Speak to Him of your business, of your plans, of your sorrows, of your fears, and of all that concerns you. 

Above all do it, as I have said, with confidence and with an open heart, because God is not accustomed to speak to the soul that does not speak to Him. Such a soul, being unused to dealing with Him, will not well understand His voice when He speaks. 

When you desire His love, without waiting for you to approach Him, He will anticipate your desire and will make Himself present to you, bringing all those graces and remedies of which you stand in need. He is only waiting for you to speak, to show you that He is near and is ready to listen to you and to console you (…). 

Our God dwells in the highest heavens, but does not disdain to pass days and nights with His faithful children, allowing them a share in His Divine consolations, any one of which surpasses all the delights and pleasures of the world. Only they who have not tried such consolations have no desire for them: Gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus (‘O taste and see that the Lord is sweet.’ Psalm 33:9).

From the “Ascetical Works” of St Alphonsus of Liguori (1696-1787). 

 

Prayer

O my Jesus, have mercy on me. I offer Thee my ungrateful but penitent heart. My Redeemer, I repent above all of having despised Thee. I repent, and I love Thee with all my soul. 

Ah yes, my Saviour, my God, I love Thee, I love Thee. Rather, it is Thou who remindest me always how much Thou hast suffered for me, that I may never again forget to love Thee. (St Alphonsus of Liguori).

Prepared by the "Focolari Movement"

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