CIMAGALATHIS is a skill we have to cultivate and practise all the time. Remember St. Paul telling us: “If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.” (Col 3,1-2)
This is the essence of the spirit of recollection that is meant for all of us, since we are all supposed to live our life with God. Our life, like that of all other creatures, cannot be without its Creator, the provider of everything that we need. In fact, he is the ultimate and constant provision we need, more than anything else—food, money, air, etc.
In our case, since we are humans with intelligence and will, we need to be aware of this reality about ourselves and correspond to it knowingly and willingly. God is actually in us always, at the very core of our life, since he is the fundamental maintainer of our existence.
But more than keeping us in life, he is gives us everything else proper of a creature created in his image and likeness—knowledge, wisdom, power, etc. And since we cannot help but sin, he is also ever eager to give us his mercy, his ultimate gift before we can fully identify ourselves with him, our goal.
This spirit of recollection means we are constantly aware of his presence, vitally doing things with him and for him. It’s not supposed to keep us always passive, though a certain passivity and receptivity is involved. But it’s what supposed to give us impulse, energy and direction in our life.
This spirit of recollection can only be lived if we activate the gifts of faith, hope and charity that God constantly and abundantly gives us. People who are curious to know more things as well as lovers who always want to be with their beloved can offer us the template for developing this spirit of recollection.
We need to seek God, even if we have to deal with great difficulties. Christ himself told us clearly: “Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.” (Mt 7,7)
We have to learn to discern the omnipresence of God—within us in our mind and heart as well as around us. We have to train our senses and our spiritual faculties of intelligence and will to go beyond the dimensions of the sensible and intelligible world. They have to capture the inputs of faith, hope and charity.
We should go beyond the physical, material and temporal, to enter into the world of the spiritual, eternal and supernatural. We should go beyond the merely practical and convenient, to be able to live the values of morality and piety of being children of God.
We should be able to be in constant intimate relation with God—talking to him, asking him for light, strength, etc.—by taking advantage of everything that happens in us and around us. Everything that we see, hear, feel, learn and know, everything that happens, whether good or bad, is always an occasion to be with God.
We have to disabuse ourselves from our tendency to think that dealing with God can only take place in some special moments of our life. All events and circumstances of our life—even our worst condition of committing a grave sin—can and should be a moment with God, praising him, thanking him, asking for pardon, asking for help.
If we have these truths well in place in our mind and heart, then we would be in the proper condition to develop this spirit of recollection. Of course, to prosper in this effort, we need to constantly mortify and purify our senses.
That means dealing some kind of death to our senses, and even to our intelligence, so that the life of faith, hope and charity can take root, grow and blossom in us.
It does not mean to do away with our senses and faculties, since that would be inhuman, but to mortify and purify them so as to be led and guided by faith, hope and charity.
This effort will take time, and we should learn to be patient. We should not forget that we are ranged against tremendous weaknesses, temptations, etc. But there’s always hope. We just have to persevere until this spirit of recollection becomes second nature to us, enabling us to be with God in the middle of the world.