We have turned the whole universe away from God

Yesterday, I mentioned The Prayer of the Presence of God by Dom Augustin Guillerand. (See the post for some information about him.) The back cover describes prayer as "a habit of tranquil listening that allows God to enter our souls by all paths and to establish His presence there." I was not quite prepared for the hard-hitting second chapter of Part 1. As soon as I read it, I felt that it would be of interest to readers of this blog.

We might expect a spiritual writer living in the world to be familiar with combat against evil. To read a description by a Carthusian is not necessarily surprising, particularly as it was written during the second World War, but I felt that it had a great impact. Dom Guillerand does seem to get to the heart of the spiritual battle by describing it as a cosmic battle. It is daunting to realise that he is simply and determinedly teaching the life of prayer as the means of reversing the tide of this war.

Here is the selection:
We must pray always in order to be on our guard. Our life, both of body and soul our natural and supernatural life, is like a fragile flower. We live surrounded by enemies. Ever since man rejected the Light that was meant to show him the way, everything has become for us an obstacle and a danger; we live in the shadow of death. Instead of pointing to the creator and leading us to Him, things show only themselves, with the result that we stop at them. The Devil, to whom we stupidly gave them when we gave him ourselves, speaks to us through their many voices; his shadow darkens their transparence. Beyond their attractive forms we no longer seek the beauty they reflect, but merely the pleasure and satisfaction they are able to offer us.

But the enemy is not only at our door; he is even more within us. And he is at our door, because he is within us. It is we who have invited him in. In turning toward him, we have turned the whole universe away from God. This is why the world is against us. It is inimical, hostile to us, and not without reason. Through the world and by it, we have let war loose within ourselves and in everything. This is only what we would expect, but it is terrible all the same.

What a profound definition of peace is St Augustine’s! Above all, in these days, when the world is convulsed to its center, when men and things (the latter through men) serve only to kill and destroy, how necessary it is to ponder well these words, whose very sound is full of the calm they express: Peace is the tranquillity of order. Order means that everything is in its proper place. God made men superior to all things, and all things turned to God as to their source, to receive from Him their being moment by moment, and to thank Him and bless Him. That was the way God acted and this is his order and His peace, It was this that fundamentally constituted the terrestrial paradise and will one day be the heavenly Paradise for those who have understood and taken up again this attitude.

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