Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. Isa. 6:3
Adrienne Von Speyr was a disciple of Hans Urs von Balthasar. So impressed was Balthasar by the depth of Von Speyr’s spiritual vision that, soon after her death in 1967, he started compiling her writings into what has become an important library of over sixty books on Catholic mystical theology.
In one such book called The World of Prayer Von Speyr explores how prayer opens our eyes to the presence of God in all things. This awakening establishes us in a “world of prayer” in which God’s purposes in and through us become increasingly evident. She writes,
- In prayer the Christian receives assurance about everything that God requires and expects of them. They understand that they are called to remain always in the presence of God, ready to do his will and to receive his word as fully as they can. This assurance gives them certainty that not only is God concerned for them and that nothing in their daily life is an accident, but also that everything has meaning in God and that, as a believer, they are called to seek this meaning.
Our awakening to this fact—that God is found in everything—invites us to re-examine all the circumstances of our lives through the eyes of Christ. It is the conversion that Paul refers to when he tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom. 12:2). As Von Speyr writes,
- When someone realizes that a relation to God can be discovered in everything, they then understand that the only way to attain the correct view of life is to behold and evaluate everything through the eyes and disposition of the Son who reveals.
As prayer becomes the key to our interpretation of life we come to understand all our relationships and all the events of our day more and more from God’s point of view. This opens our eyes to the real world—the world in which “we live, move and have our being” in God (Acts 17:28). In Von Speyr’s words, ”All things become signposts mysteriously leading to God, revealing proofs of His existence and presenting ever new ways of drawing closer to Him.”
The old hymn says that, “To those who live a life of prayer, God is present everywhere.” This is the experience that Von Speyr is trying to identify—of a growing awareness of God’s presence that is the natural fruit of prayer. Jesus promised that the pure in heart would be blessed, “for they will see God.” (Mat. 5:8). May such an awakening to His presence in our lives be the fruitful outcome of our own spiritual practices as well.
Rob Des Cotes
Imago Dei Christian Communities
(written for Oct 16, 2014)
FOR GROUP DISCUSSION:
1. Would you say you are more aware of God’s presence in your life today than in the past? If so, how has God brought about this awakening in you?
2. What effect does it have on you to know that God is present and active in all of life? What posture does such knowledge invite you to assume in your relationship to all things?
3. How does your growing perception of “God in all things” also create, in Von Speyr’s words, “ever new ways of drawing closer to Him?”
FOR PRAYER: Spend time in prayer observing whatever takes place in you through Christ’s eyes. Note how this different perspective offers new insights as well as new possibilities for relationship with yourself and with the circumstances of your life. Thank God for the hope that this gives you.