|Le Père Marie-Dominique Philippe (1912-2006)|
…We must "go back to the source," and going back to the source is difficult. Of course, we must not do this just for the fun of going against the current, of being reactionary. No, the purpose must be to go to the source. Of course, there are people who would rather be reactionary than go to the source, but that is something different. That is not a particular "spirituality"; it is simply a difficult temperament that is always reactionary just for the pleasure of being reactionary. That is not what we seek. We want to return to the source. However, in the words of Péguy, "not many people go back to the source." To return to the source, we sometimes have to accept being alone.
We must have great strength in our Christian life in order to go back to the source and not to flow with the current as "everyone else does." Now, we return to the source in and through adoration. We can go back to the source only through adoration. Adoration requires an effort on our part. We do not adore in the way that we breathe or that we smell a flower, saying, "This smells good"! No, we do not adore God like that. There are people who say, "Prayer is simply being ourselves." Wait a moment, that depends! What does that mean, "being ourselves"? We can "be ourselves" in many ways: when we relax, when we look in the mirror, when we listen to others... and we can be ourselves in our inmost being.
Returning to the source requires an act of the will. I believe that it is even the most fundamental act of the will; so much so that if we are lacking in willpower, it is because we do not worship any more. That may surprise you, but it is a profound truth. Anyone who no longer worships is off course, and thus, by a lack of will, will inevitably let himself be carried away by the current. Whoever wants to return to the source must will to do so. We must will an act of adoration. That is why we must try, during this retreat, to make acts of adoration. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us, as it is He who teaches us adoration. The retreat master points you in the right direction, but when we do it ourselves, it is the Holy Spirit who will be there to teach us to worship, to teach us this elementary act. Adoration is the starting point, the foundation, of our Christian life.
Let us recall the words of our Lord, "If a man wants to build a house (and all of us are building a house, for we are the Temple of God) he does not build it on quicksand on which it cannot stand. But he discovers and builds on a rock". Adoration is discovering the rock, discovering that profound contact with God, that intimate point whereby and wherein we depend upon Him. Adoration is discovering the presence of the Creator in the very depth of our being. According to the powerful expression of Saint Augustine, God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. And this is true, because God takes hold of us from within; there is no distance between God and us. Thus, it is a question of discovering this presence, of discovering this Source... the "wellspring", for God is the primary source from which all light and all love spring forth, and every being originates.
Discovering the Source...! We can only do this in the loving attitude of adoration. An act of adoration is really an act of love, but of a very particular love; it is a radical love that dwells in us and enables us to place ourselves in the hands of God. We know that we come from God and we return to Him. We place ourselves in the presence of God (that is why I said that an act of adoration is really a gesture of politeness towards God). We acknowledge that God is present; and since God is present, we assume the normal attitude of a creature who wants to acknowledge this marvellous presence of his Creator. God is present in the depths of our heart; He is present in the depths of our spirit. And we acknowledge this fact.
We worship together with Jesus, together with Mary- always. We cannot worship without Christ. "Apart from Me you can do nothing". And the first thing that Jesus teaches us is adoration. This is what He came to teach. Thus whenever we worship, we worship with Him. And Mary is always present....
It is very important to understand that only with Jesus can we really worship, for it is a question of worshipping "in spirit and truth" of worshipping in love. We love to be close to God, because we know that He loves us, and we want to discover this First Love who loves us in a very special way. And we respond to this unique love by adoration, by this very particular, very personal, gesture. We all worship in our own way and we love in our own way; this is what makes us truly original. When we only seek external originality, this means we have not understood that true originality is interior. Once we have understood this, the exterior does not concern us; it is secondary! What is important is this profound originality in our manner of returning to the Source, of rediscovering God's presence, of adoring Him. Nobody worships God in exactly the same way as his neighbour. People often say that no two leaves are exactly alike-and this is true. No two living beings are the same. Well, our manner of living, of breathing deeply as human beings, as spirit bound to matter is adoration. Is not adoration the most profoundly natural act of the human person? The human person is fully human only when he worships God. If he no longer worships, this proves that he has forgotten what characterizes him-and this is terrible! He will then quickly become lost in anonymity. Why are so many people lost in the crowd? Why are there so many people who let themselves be deceived by the latest trends in political, sociological, and psychological programs? Because they have forgotten the deepest meaning of their being and their human life, something that can be discovered only in and through adoration.
Fundamentally, adoration is the human being's most personal act. It is the first priority in education. The Holy Spirit cannot educate us if we do not worship. When someone claims to be moved by the Holy Spirit, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, yet responds to the question, "Are you drawn to adoration?” With "I do not know what that is," you can be sure it this is not from the Holy Spirit. It is his imagination, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can work in us only if we worship. Thus it is very important to discover the act of adoration…
Mi agradecimiento a Ramonzon Donel, seguidor y amigo de esta bitácora, por presentarme la figura del Padre Marie-Dominique Philippe, dominico y fundador de Comunidad San Juan (Fratres Joannises F.J.).