Sinners Anonymous: 12 Steps to Holiness

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Step 11: Recollection

“I will lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart” (Hos 2:14).

Our union with God is strengthened by it.

Our life in Christ must have it.

Our soul desires it.

Our heart seeks it.

Our life keeps order with it.

Our world needs it.

St. Augustine was right in saying, “my heart is restless until it rests in you”, he speaks for all of us whether we acknowledge it or not. We have an immortal soul, one that is going to stick around for a long time, for eternity actually. This soul is fed by one single source of sustenance . . . God. And I imagine it would behoove us to get to know him and his workings within us. The one who sustains us is the same one who animates our soul and he alone can show us the best way to exercise its fullest potential in our every thought, word, and action.

We first need to look for him, not because he is not present but because we are not present.

“The LORD was not in the wind . . .

the LORD was not in the earthquake . . .

the LORD was not in the fire . . .

after the fire; a light silent sound . . .

When he heard this, Elijah hid his face” (1 King 19:11-12).

This is where we look for him! Elijah knew he was now in the presence of God and he “hid his face”. We can adopt that in our own response to God and enter into solitude both of the heart and in the world. Step aside from the daily “wind . . . earthquake . . .fire” NOISE and enter into the “silent sound” SOLITUDE; create this space for him in your life. God speaks if we cooperate with his encounter. This physical stepping away from the world is good but once the solitude of the heart is strengthened it will not be depended on. Foundational is the recollection of the heart, “In order to remain united with God, we must endeavor to keep alive within us a vivid recollection of Him and of the immeasurable goods He bestows on them that love Him” (St. Alphonsus 154).

Our entire day is lived with him present, I bet if we remembered this truth before every action, every word, and every thought, there would be a consideration of how it might be carried out before executing. To remember he is present is to recollect His existence in our lives. The times that we are able to do this are times when we receive a foretaste of heaven, our union with him is sacred and authentically marked with love. But being the fallen race that we are, we “seek the society and excitement of the world so that the voice of conscience may be drowned in the voice that reigns there” (154). And then we make excuses as to why we cannot find God.

If we make a conscious effort to detach from the world then God’s effort of providing the graces needed for our fruitful attachment to Him will not be wasted. “The light of God cannot illuminate a heart that is full of attachments for the joys, the pleasures, and the honors of this world” (157). Receive those graces and when you have them do not be IDLE in them. Yes you reached the point of solitude, both inner and outer, hurray now what? Is this solitude a tool for entering into the depths of union with the beloved or is it simply idle and inactive? Love and know God! If we do this then we will love and know others as Christ desired it. Our recollection should become a complement to our lived life. If these do not mirror each other in fruition then we are doing something wrong.

“In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Put on the eyes of faith and see that he is present at every moment, examine your life in his, give him room to enter where he has not yet been invited, live for him, seek him, know him, love him. He already does this for us, who are we to not do the same for him?

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